The rape and murder of a minor in Hyderabad on Saturday allegedly by a 30-year-old man who was freed from jail just a day earlier has laid bare all that is rotten about India’s judicial and prison reforms system.
Chintakindi Anil, who was already accused in 25 criminal cases and convicted in 17, embarked on the biggest crime of his sordid life by allegedly picking up a 10-year-old girl from Bollarum in the outskirts of the city after engaging her parents in small talk at a toddy shop. He offered the child chocolates and took her to a secluded area. He then raped and killed her, before dumping the body on a nearby railway track.
While the crime made headlines, it was the ease with which the perpetrator managed to sidestep the long arm of the law — despite his criminal past — that seemed more horrifying.
Anil got off lightly after being arrested last year for raping and attempting to bludgeon a woman to death in Narsapur of Medak district.
A local court concluded that the woman was a prostitute, and Anil was sentenced to just one year in prison for attempted murder. “The judge fixed the jail term after taking various factors into consideration,” Hyderabad North Zone deputy commissioner of police B Sumathi told HT.
Local residents, however, say the light sentence allowed Anil to get another shot at his depraved ways — costing the minor her life. “Anil has been a known depredator since 2005. As many as 25 cases were registered against him at the Alwal police station in Cyberabad and Narsapur police station in Medak district. Though most of them pertained to theft and burglaries, he also engaged in extortion and robbery... besides the attempted murder in Narsapur,” Sumathi said.
What’s left unsaid, however, is the fact that the authorities failed to read the danger Anil posed – allowing him to slip through their net.
The youngest of five children, Anil parted ways with his parents soon after embarking on a life of crime. “He fell into bad company as a child. Initially, we would get him out on bail. Five years ago, he left the house after we scolded him. We don’t know what he has been doing since then, and who has been bailing him out,” his father, CH Boodaiah, said.
Psychiatrists say Anil’s anti-social tendencies were there for everybody to see. “It is evident from the way Anil raped and murdered the 10-year-old girl that he has turned into a psychopath,” psychologist G Kavitha said.
And yet, Anil – who spent 80 months of the last 10 years behind bars – always found a way to slink out of jail. “He was able to get out of jail easily only because the prosecution failed to produce proper evidence related to his previous offences. The police should have invoked the Preventive Detention Act against him to ensure that he does not repeat his crimes,” said advocate L Ravichander.
However, the authorities now say they will ensure that Anil is locked up for a very long time to come. “This time, there is no way he will get bail. He will have to face stringent punishment,” DCP Sumathi said.
However, that’s little consolation for the grieving parents of the murdered girl.