A death penalty awarded to a 25-year-old farmer from Solapur district was converted into a life term by the Bombay High Court on Tuesday.
The convict, Kamlakar Shinde, will now have to undergo a separate sentence of 10 years after serving the life term for murdering his 55-year-old aunt to steal her gold ornaments. The incident took place in July 2007 when Babhulgaon resident Draupadi Shinde went to Barshi town.
On July 31, 2007, Shinde’s elder son lodged a missing person’s complaint when she did not return to home.
Four days later, the Barshi police arrested Kamlakar suspicion grounds.
After days of interrogation, Kamlakar took the police to the spot in the jungle where he had killed his aunt. Police recovered a skull, a few bones and body parts and also recovered two missing gold bangles.
The Solapur sessions court convicted Kamlakar on the basis of circumstantial evidence and awarded him the death penalty for murder and 10 years in jail for abduction.
Kamlakar challenged the conviction and sentencing contending there was no evidence linking him to the murder and he was falsely implicated in the case. His lawyer, Jaydeep Mane, contended that the prosecution had not even proved that it was a homicide.
A division bench of Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice V.K. Tahilramani rejected the contention and confirmed his conviction holding the chain of circumstances had been “proved beyond reasonable doubt”.
The bench, however, commuted the death sentence to a life term saying it is not a rarest of rare case.
Though Kamlakar has escaped the noose, he will have to serve a longer term in jail because the bench has ordered him to serve the two sentences — life term for murder and 10 years' prison for abduction —consecutively.