Bengaluru, Oct 12 (PTI) The Karnataka High Court today commuted the death penalty given to a serial killer by a trial court in a murder case of a woman to imprisonment till death.

A division bench of Justice Ravi Mallimath and Justice John Michael D’Cunha commuted the sentence of Mohan Kumar alias ‘Cyanide’ Mohan, who faced charges of killing a number of women between 2003 and 2009. He was sentenced to death in three cases.

The court passed the order on the matter referred to it by the trial court for confirmation of the death penalty for killing a woman in a public toilet in Hassan in June, 2009.

The judges held that the prosecution failed to present evidence for the rape and abduction charges against Kumar.

According to the prosecution, Kumar allegedly used to lure women to marry him and take them to hotels. Later, he would kill them by giving them birth control pills laced with cyanide.

He was caught after the June incident.

The call details of the woman helped police in cracking the case.

Police officials were shocked when Kumar, during interrogation, gave chilling details of the murders he had committed. Police had considered those cases as suicide or natural death.

The fourth additional district and session’s judge of Mangaluru B K Naik had awarded Kumar the capital punishment in the 2009 murder case, calling it it the rarest of the rare.

Kumar faced charges of killing 20 women but was convicted in four cases by the trial court. Out of the four, he was given the death sentence in three and life term in the other.

The 2009 case had come up before the high court for confirmation of the death penalty.

Kumar had filed an appeal against the death sentences and appeared before the high court as the party in person, one who argues his case on his own.

He contended that in none of the cases, rape was established and urged the court to commute the punishment to life imprisonment.

Allowing his plea, the court held that the accused had not physically tortured the victim in the present case. Hence, it ordered imprisonment till his death.

The court directed jail authorities not to release him as he will not be entitled for remission.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.