A court here on Tuesday convicted three men for raping an American tourist and sentenced them to 20 years in prison.
This is the first time in the state that the court has pronounced a verdict within six months and awarded a 20-year jail term in a rape case.
Kullu district and sessions judge Purender Vaidya also imposed a fine of Rs. 10,000 each on Lucky, a resident of Solang village, Arjun of Prini village and Som Bahadur of Alue village. The three men hail from Nepal, but had been living in Manali since a long time. In case of default of payment of fine, the convicts will have to serve two years more in prison.
The three have also been sentenced to five years in prison and fined Rs. 5,000 each for robbing the victim. The sentences will run concurrently.
The public prosecutor, Mahesh Sen, stated that the victim had arrived in Manali on June 3 and booked a room at a guest house in Old Manali. She had left for Vashisht, 8 Kilometres from Manali, on the same day. While returning at night, the victim had taken a lift in a truck of the accused.
However, instead of taking the victim to Manali, the accused had turned towards Palchan, and raped her. They later dropped her in Manali and robbed her of her camera, mobile phone, and Rs. 5,000. The prosecution had examined 17 witnesses in the case. The three men were arrested two days after the crime.