The Supreme Court on Friday refused custodial parole to Dara Singh, who is serving life sentence for the murder of Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two minor sons, to perform rituals related to the immersion of ashes of his father.
A bench comprising justices P Sathasivam and H L Dattu said it cannot grant custodial parole to Ravindra Pal Singh alias Dara Singh, to travel from Orissa to Allahabad for immersing the ashes of his father, who had died in 2003.
The bench did not consider the submission of Dara's counsel Sibu Shankar Mishra that the convict was not even allowed the permission to perform the last rites of his father. He submitted that it is the desire of Dara's 77-year-old mother that the ashes of his father be immersed in the holy Ganga.
The court dismissed the petition, saying that it would expeditiously hear his appeal against the conviction and life sentence in January next year. Dara Singh and Mahendra Hembrom were found guilty for burning to death Staines and his sons Philip and Timothy, who were sleeping inside a van outside a church, at Manoharpur village in Koenjhar district of Orissa on January 22, 1999.
The trial court in Khurda in September 2003 had convicted all the 14 accused. While Dara Singh and Hembrom were awarded the death sentence, others were given life imprisonment. However, the Orissa high court had commuted their death sentences to life imprisonment.