A special court in Surat on Tuesday sentenced a 31-year-old man to death for allegedly kidnapping, raping and murdering a minor aged three years and nine months in April this year.
Special judge of the POCSO (Prevention of Children from Sexual Offenses) court, DP Gohil, handed down the death sentence to the convict – a resident of Punagam and a native of Madhya Pradesh – calling it “the rarest case”. “The life sentence is insufficient for the accused. The court has only one option, which is capital punishment,” reads the verdict, which was delivered within four months of the commission of the crime.
The victim’s parents expressed their happiness in the quantum of the punishment. “We are very happy with the death penalty,” district head of government Nayan Sukhadwla told the Indian Express. The court also ordered the payment of Rs 3 lakh to the victim’s family as part of a compensation scheme.
Meanwhile, defense lawyer AM Shaikh said the future course of action would be decided after “studying the judgement”.
According to case details, the victim was sleeping with her parents and other siblings on a footpath in Surat on April 13 when the accused, who was staying nearby, spotted her. He kidnapped her and took her to an open field near Bhaiyanagar before raping her and strangling her to death. Later, he buried her body in the open plot.
The victim’s father, who works as a construction worker, realized that his daughter was missing early in the morning and later filed a complaint at the Punagam police station the same day. The police had registered a case under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including the POCSO Act.
After inspecting CCTV footage from nearby shops, police focused on the accused and arrested him on April 14. Cops recovered the victim’s body based on his confession.
Within two weeks, police submitted a 1,000-page indictment, including witness statements and documentary evidence.
-With PTI entries