The court of additional and sessions judge Anshu Shukla has sentenced three men to 20 years in jail each for the October 2014 gangrape and death of 20-year-old architecture student, the daughter of an eatery owner in Sector-22. A fine of Rs 5.22 lakh each has also been imposed on the convicts. Rajat Beniwal (23), Kamal Singh (31) and Dilpreet Singh (24) had been convicted on January 30.
The victim’s body was found in a drain on Rajpura Road near Shambhu barrier, 8km from Ambala, on October 21, 2014, though she had died two days earlier. Rajat Beniwal, of Sector 51, was a student at the evening college, Panjab University, Kamal owned a dhaba in Sector 37-D, while Dilpreet was pursuing interior designing at the time.
After preliminary investigation, police said she was consuming heroin inside a car with Rajat, Kamal, and Dilpreet (with whom she was allegedly in a relationship) in SAS Nagar and had died due to drug overdose.
The judgment refers to the admission by accused Dilpreet, that he was addicted to drugs and that the three (accused) brought drugs from Ludhiana.
The judgment also notes, “... The arguments led by defence counsel are not sustainable in the eyes of the law... prosecution evidence is one well-knit piece.” The cops also recovered the body of the victim in the presence of the complainant. (there is a video recording of this). The Central Forensics Science Laboratory report which established that unnatural sex took place also helped prove the guilt.
The three have been given 10 years under Sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder); three years under 363 (kidnapping); five years under 365 (kidnapping or abducting with intent to confine person); 20 years under 376D (gangrape); 10 years under 377 (unnatural offences); one year for 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement) of the IPC, all read with Section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC. The sentence will run concurrently.
The court submitted that ‘since the deceased would have undergone trauma... a compensation is recommended ’. A copy of the judgment is to be sent to the District Legal Services Authority Chandigarh, to determine the amount.
“.... even if there is a contradiction regarding the date of missing of deceased, it is not fatal to the prosecution story... a girl is always a flesh and blood of her father’s life... in case when she goes missing it is natural that they feel disturbed... such discrepancies occur,” the judgment adds.
ONLY DEATH CAN EQUATE THE PAIN OF DEATH: VICTIM”S BROTHER
Even as they had been held guilty and knew they were in for punishment, the three accused Rajat, Kamal and Dilpreet-sentenced to 20 years for the gangrape and death of a 20-year-old woman, the daughter of an eatery in Sector-22, still hoped for leniency.
Complainant’s counsel Manish Dewan had confirmed that charges of gang-rape and unnatural offence were added against the accused later after the victim’s family had moved an application in the court.
The day witnessed a lot of drama as each of three convicted in the case pleaded for clemency before the court in pronouncing the quantum. While Rajat and Dilpreet wore a restless look, Kamal was seen constantly praying with his hands folded.
The families of each carried food in tiffin boxes claiming they didn’t know when they will get to do this next. Later in the afternoon, when the court staff did not allow the families of the guilty to enter the courtroom during the pronouncement, it was not taken in good taste. Dilpreet’s mother, sister and uncle were seen arguing with the constables about the same.
The families of the guilty were disheartened when they heard the decision. Kamal’s mother and wife in particular broke down outside the court while others consoled her. She said she wasn’t in a position to express her feelings. Dilpreet’s sister remarked that her brother had been wronged.
Rajat’s sister and widowed mother, who appeared calm though, shared how they couldn’t come to terms with this.
The guilty appeared cold and expressionless post the quantum announcement. Rajat requested the cops to let him meet his family before he was taken to the jail.
DECEASED’S FAMILY STILL REMORSEFUL
Victim’s father and complainant Joginder Singh gave a mixed reaction after he was informed about the quantum. He said, “Itna toh banta hi tha...ab kya keh sakte hain (This much was only appropriate...what more can I say),” while her brother Pankaj said, “Only death can equate the pain of death. They deserved to be hanged.”