A fast-track court awarded life sentence to a retired Army officer on Friday after he was found guilty of killing a 13-year-old boy, who strayed into an Army residential compound in Chennai to pick almonds.

Dilshan, a boy from a slum colony in Chennai, was shot dead by retired Lieutenant Colonel Kandasamy Ramraj, 58, on July 3, 2011 after he trespassed into the Army residential compound to pluck fruit. Ramraj was arrested on July 10 and a chargesheet was filed against him after nearly 70 people were cited as witnesses in the incident.

Besides awarding life imprisonment, the court also slapped a fine of Rs.60,000 on Ramraj, of which Rs.50,000 will be given to the victim's family.

The court's judgment came as a big relief for the family of the victim. Dilson's mother K. Kalaivani told reporters that it was a good judgement and she was happy. She added that it would be a lesson for everyone and wished such incidents never happen again.

Meanwhile, Ramraj's lawyer is not happy with the verdict of the court. He argued that the ex-army officer has been framed and he didn't intent to kill the boy. He added that they would approach the High Court or even the Supreme Court to appeal against the order.

It may be recalled that the incident happened when Kandasamy Ramraj was an Assistant Engineer in the Arms Section of the Electrical Mechanical Department. He apparently shot the boy with the US-made .30 calibre M1 Springfield rifle after he plucked fruit from the army compound along with other three boys. The boy died on the spot after being hit on the head.

The incident sent shocking waves and outrage among the public in July last year. The Tamil Nadu government ordered a Crime Branch probe into the case. The police zeroed in on the culprit by following the mobile phone signals of the Army officers when the incident took place. They also recovered the rifle that was used to kill the boy.

The fast track court examined about 50 witnesses and considered forensic and ballistic reports before pronouncing the army officer guilty. 

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