Wednesday, 2 July 2008

16 Years Jail And 16 Strokes Of The Cane For Indian Polytechnic Student

The case has finally drawn to a close, with the seemingly deranged, love-sick 23-year-old marine engineering student receiving from the High Court a sentence of 16 years in jail and 16 strokes of the cane for the attempted murder of his ex-lover's father and two maids in 2006.

Batla Jatin Navin, an Indian national, had previously pleaded guilty to the attempted murder charge, as well as two charges of grievous bodily harm and one of wrongful restraint.

Batla was fighting tears as his widowed mother watched on from the public gallery. He pleaded for a lenient sentence, stating 'If not for myself, then for my mother as she has sacrificed everything including selling her house to pay my legal costs,'. He also said that he would not attempt to deny or justify the crimes. 'Doing so will be a bigger crime.'

Justice Kan Ting Chiu told Batla: 'You came here to do a course in marine engineering sponsored by a major shipping company in India. By committing the offences... you have brought tragedy onto yourself and your widowed mother and destroyed everything.'

To this Batla had no reply - he just sat and sobbed quietly.

Batla first met 38-year old web designer, Ms Mumta Manik Shahani, at the One Night Stand pub in Clarke Quay about a month after he arrived in Singapore in 2005 to study at the Singapore Polytechnic.

Two weeks later, the couple became involved in an imtimate relationship, and Batla would often sneak into Ms Shahani's house to spend the night with her. When her father found out about this, he was enraged and told her to stop seeing the much younger Batla.

She broke up with him on June 29. Then started the crime spree - an upset Batla bought two knives, four cans of lighter fuel, and cable ties that could be used as restraints.

Using a key given to him by Ms Shahani, he entered the bungalow in Dalvey estate (off Stevens Road) soon after midnight on June 30 and committed the offences.

In passing sentence, Justice Kan Ting Chiu said the attack on the girl's 72-year-old father, Mr Shahani Manik Ram, in their Dalvey Road bungalow in June 2006, had been "premeditated".

Batla vicously slashed Mr Shahani, a retired Singapore shipping magnate, and as a result lost a litre of blood and needed emergency surgery.

For the attempted murder of Mr Shahani, Batla was sentenced to 10 years' jail and six strokes of the cane.

For hurting each of the two maids, he was given six years' jail and five strokes of the cane (the jail terms for these two offences will run concurrently).

Batla's lawyer, Mr BJ Lean said that his client loved Ms Shahani and her 10-year-old son and wanted to marry her, stating 'The break-up sent him deep into depression and made him commit these crimes'.

Batla's defence team also provided a report to the High Court, from a psychologist in Mumbai, who had been treating Batla since 1997.

Batla's mother, Madam Pooja Batla, 51, flew down regularly from Mumbai since Batla was arrested in June 2006. She still believes that her son has done now wrong.

IN SUMMARY

Love can cause us to do some strange things, but there is no excuse for this sort of behaviour... at least Batla can be happy with one thing - for the crime of trying to kill people, he received 16 years jail and 16 strokes of the cane. Lucky he didn't arrive in the country with a 'joint' of marijuana in his pocket - for this, he would have got the death sentence... Hmmmmm.....

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