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Australian Teenager Charged For Nitin Garg's Murder

Melbourne : A-15 year old Australian boy was on Thursday charged with the murder of Indian student Nitin Garg, with the police saying there was no racial motive in the killing, which had sent shock
australian teenager charged for nitin garg s...
PTI June 17, 2010 15:38 IST
Melbourne : A-15 year old Australian boy was on Thursday charged with the murder of Indian student Nitin Garg, with the police saying there was no racial motive in the killing, which had sent shock waves back home.

The breakthrough in the high-profile case, which threatened to derail India-Australia ties, came with the police arresting the teenaged suspect early Thursday morning.  

The teenager who cannot be named was produced before a Children's Court after his arrest in a Melbourne suburb.

Garg, 21, was stabbed to death while walking to work through a park on January 2, and the incident was one in a series of violent attacks against Indians in Australia. 

The crime which came in for strong condemnation both in New Delhi and Canberra, with External Affairs Minister S M Krishna describing it as a "heinous crime on humanity" and "an uncivilised brutal attack on innocent Indians".  

However, the Victorian police, who made the arrest, said there were no racial motive found in the killing of Garg investigations so far.  "In our inquiries at this stage we don't believe (Garg's death) was racially motivated," Detective Inspector handling the case, Bernie Edwards said.

"It's relatively clear why it happened and how it happened but I won't speculate on the motive," he said.  He further said there was no evidence of gang involvement in Garg's death.  

Victorian police have not identified the 15-year-old suspect and haven't disclosed the details of the crime because of legal issues in dealing with a juvenile. 

Edwards admitted that homicide detectives had felt the pressure of solving the murder after the Indian government had claimed it was racially-motivated.  

"Like any homicide we will keep going until we solve it, however there was a lot of pressure and I congratulate Senior Sergeant Dave Snare and his team in their investigation," Edwards said.  

"We are extremely pleased for Nitin Garg's family and the Indian community here in Australia," he said.  

The teenager responded "okay" after the magistrate outlined the schedule of dates for his case. His parents were also present in the court and the mother was seen weeping as the teenager was remanded to custody after a brief appearance.

Edwards said police was also questioning a number of other people in connection with the killing but did not say if further charges were expected.

Fifteen detectives were involved in the investigation, he said.  The 21-year-old accountancy student from Punjab was stabbed in a local park at Footscray West in January as he walked to work at a fast food restaurant.

Earlier on Thursday morning, the police questioned the 15-year-old after arresting him at Yarraville, a statement from the Victorian police said.

Garg suffered stab wounds to his upper body while walking to the Hungry Jack's restaurant where he worked, on the corner of Geelong and Somerville roads, about 9.30 pm on January 2 this year.  He stumbled into the restaurant, bleeding in front of his workmates, before he died at the scene.  The weapon used in the attack has not been found.

Garg was a resident of Newport suburb and was employed in a fast food outlet of Hungry Jack.  

The breakthrough in the case came as Minister for Oversees Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi is touring Australia and discussed problems faced by the community with Australian leaders.  

The murder had come in the midst of a series of attacks on Indians in Australia that led to a furore back home.

The issue was taken up by the Indian government at the highest level with Krishna condemning the incident and calling for bringing those responsible to book speedily. PTI

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