Wednesday, March 4, 2015

HC confirms death for ‘monster’ youth

Shibu Thomas, TNN | Feb 17, 2015, 04.30AM IST

Mumbai: Three years after he raped and strangled a 13-year-old schoolgirl near Alibaug, the Bombay high court on Monday held a 25-year-old youth guilty and confirmed his death sentence. A division bench of Justices Vijaya Kapse-Tahilramani and Indira Jain said the accused Madhya Pradesh native Viran Rajput was "a menace to society and there is no possibility of him being reformed". The judges called the rape and murder of a defenseless schoolgirl "the ultimate insult of womanhood".

Rajput's lawyers urged leniency, pointing to his age and the fact that he had a wife, two minor children and old parents to look after but the HC rejected the plea. "The modus operandi, by resorting to a diabolical method, exhibits depravity, degradation and uncommon (nature) of the crime,'' the judges said, adding that it "had shocked the collective conscience of the community and the villagers who are required to send their minor girls to another village for education, in an era in which right to education is a constitutional guarantee".

The court upheld Rajput's conviction for the charge of rape, murder and the special law Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. This is one of the first HC cases where POCSO was invoked that had resulted in death penalty. Additional public prosecutor Arfan Sait said circumstantial evidence against Rajput was strong and proved beyond reasonable doubt that he had committed the rape and murder. Sait said the forensic evidence was crucial—traces of mud on the accused's trousers matched the soil in the area from where the girl's body was found.

The victim, a resident of Kamthekarwadi, near Alibaug, was studying in Std IX and was on her way home on October 17, 2012, when she went missing. The police detained Rajput after a villager reported that he had seen the youth follow the girl. The police questioned Rajput, who finally told them where he had buried the girl and hidden her clothes. The body was recovered and a medical report confirmed she had been raped and strangled with her dupatta. Rajput claimed that he had been implicated. A sessions court called him a "monster" and sentenced him to death. The HC confirmed the verdict. Sait pointed to circumstantial evidence against Rajput.

Source: [last accessed on 04.03.2015]

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