The Jharkhand high court on Thursday upheld the life sentence awarded to 12 convicts and acquitted eight others involved in a 1999 gruesome gang rape of a class XII student of Bokaro St Xavier’s School.
In 2004, the Bokaro court convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment 21 accused in the case. This was, reportedly, the country’s first judgment in which rape accused had been awarded life sentence and were asked to pay compensation ranging from Rs 25,000 to Rs 20,000 for the victim’s treatment.
The case dates back to April 5, 1999, when the girl, the daughter of a senior official of Bokaro Steel Plant, was abducted by six persons. According to police chargesheet, they took her to Bharra village where 15 persons between the age group of 22-55 raped her. The ghastly crime caused grave mental trauma to the victim. She died in 2008 after nine years of prolonged treatment.
The incident had rocked the erstwhile state of Bihar followed by public unrest and communal clashes in the city. Curfew was imposed to bring normalcy.
Confirming the life sentence awarded to 12 of the 21 convicts, the division bench of chief justice Virender Singh and justice PP Bhatt directed the state government to pay compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the deceased victim’s family by September 24. The bench, however, acquitted eight convicts due to lack of sufficient evidence while one died during the trial period.
The bench upheld the sentences of convicts Yunus Ansari, Talib Ansari, Sirajuddin Ansari, Habib Ansari, Anwar, Islam Ansari, Feroz Shah, Gaffar Ansari, Momin Akhtar, Saiyuum Ansari, Khadim Hussain, Pramod Pillai and Mani Swamy.
It acquitted Abbas Ansari, Noor Alam Ansari, Mansoor Ansari, Abdul Sattar, Quazi Rizwan, Muzib Ansari, Shabbir Shah and Eqbal Shah of all charges.