The Bombay High Court, on Monday, September 14, sentenced a 51-year-old Mumbai hotelier Lalit Timothy D’Souza, son of late hotelier Timothy D’souza, to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment for firing six bullets at his elder sister over a parking dispute on October 27, 2007.
Lalit abused and shot Lorna, his sister, six times in the early hours of October 28, 2007, when she objected to his girlfriend’s car being parked in her parking slot at a Cuff Parade residential apartments, where the siblings lived together.
In October 2007, Lalit, who runs a chain of bars and restaurants across the city, opened fire on Lorna – with whom he had been fighting a property dispute since 2003.
Latil attacked his sister by firing all the six bullets, which injured her organs, but she managed to survive. Four bullets ruptured her pancreas, liver, and kidney. One of the bullets is still lodged in the right chest wall as it could not be removed. Lorna told police that Lalit continued to pull the trigger even after exhausting all the bullets in his gun. She was on the ventilator for 12 days.
Lalit was prosecuted for attempted murder but, the trial court convicted him only for causing grievous hurt by a dangerous weapon and sentenced him to three years imprisonment on February 1, 2012, while giving him bail after the verdict.
Lalit then moved HC challenging his conviction, while the state and Lorna filed separate appeals challenging his acquittal on the charge of attempt to murder and pleading for enhancement of his sentence.
Lalit contended that he fired the six shots at him because she charged at him with an iron rod and only attacked his sister in a form of self-defense.
As an alternate submission, Lalit’s counsels claimed that the incident was without any premeditation, the intent not being to kill. Therefore, utmost he may be sentenced under Section 308 (Attempt to commit culpable homicide) of the IPC.
However, the bench accepted the prosecutor’s argument that for an offense to fall under the 4th exception to 300 of IPC is accused should not act cruelly.
“In the present case, the accused had fired six gunshots at who was unarmed and thus acted cruelly and unusually. The accused is, thus, not entitled to benefit of exception 4 to Section 300 of the IPC. The act of the accused is thus, neither covered by exceptions to Section 300 of the IPC nor considering the facts and circumstances of the case clauses I to IV can be said to be not attracted in the present matter,” the court held.
It added, “The accused is convicted for the offense punishable under Section 307 of the IPC and sentenced to suffer rigorous imprisonment for 10 years and to pay fine of Rs.1 Lakh, out of which, Rs.50,000/- to be paid to PW 1 as compensation.“