Thursday, May 16, 2013

HC commutes death penalty of 2 to 30-year jail term

BOMBAY High Court Tuesday set aside death penalty of two persons who kidnapped and murdered a four-year-old boy in Navi Mumbai in 2004. The court sentenced both convicts to 30 years’ imprisonment.
A division bench of Justices V M Kanade and P D Kode held that the case could not be included in the “rarest of rare” category as laid down by Supreme Court. The death sentence was awarded by a sessions court in March last year.
The accused — Nihal Ahmed Shaikh and Rafiq Mohammed Sayyed — are said to have kidnapped the boy, Nitesh Wadhwa- on April 24, 2004, from his residence in Vashi. A month later, police found Nitesh’s body of Nitesh after the accused were arrested. The accused had demanded a ransom of Rs 5.5 lakh from the boy’s father, Prakash Wadhwa.
“We are of the considered opinion that in the facts and circumstances of the instant case, it cannot be said to be of a rarest of rare nature warranting the extreme penalty of death,” the order said. The judges observed that the medical evidence did not indicate that the murder was committed in an unusually cruel manner.
They also observed that the accused did not have any criminal antecedents, and also that they come from the poor strata of society.
Both the accused lived in a room in Turbhe and are originally from Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh. They are currently lodged at Yerawada central prison in Pune. The judges took into account their young age — they were 25 and 22 years old respectively at the time of the offence.

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