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Priya Ranjan Sahu, Hindustan Times
Bhubaneswar, October 08, 2012
Setting a record in Odisha’s judicial history, a court in Sambalpur district on Monday handed over death penalty to a man just 36 days after he raped and murdered an 8-year-old girl.

Awarding the sentence in a crowded court in Sambalpur, about 320 km west of Bhubaneswar, district and session’s judge Bibhu Prasad Routray said the convict targeted the minor victim for his lust, then chose to lure her for taking her out of lawful custody and committed the beastly rape. “This is the rarest of the rare cases deserving punishment of death,” the judge said.

Earlier on October 1, the court had found Pradip Dalei (28) guilty of kidnapping, rape and murder of the minor girl and causing disappearance of evidence but had reserved the pronouncement of sentence.

Public prosecutor Artatran Mishra told the Hindustan Times: "This for the first time in the state that speedy hearing has ensured justice to a victim’s family in a record time. The verdict is a lesson to criminals indulging in such heinous crimes."

On the evening of September 2, Dalei had lured the innocent girl, who was playing with friends in a slum in Sambalpur city area, away on the pretext of treating her with noodles. He took her to a secluded park, where he brutally raped and murdered her and then left the body behind a bush.

The incident caused widespread resentment in Sambalpur with people blocking the roads demanding exemplary punishment for the Dalei, a driver by profession. After arresting Dalei on September 3, the police had submitted the charge sheet within five days contributing to an early trial of the case.

Dalei, who hails Choudwar area of Cuttack district, had deserted his wife and two minor children few months back.