Delhi court awards death to man for ‘brutal, diabolic’ murder of 12-year-old boy
A Delhi court Tuesday awarded the death penalty to a man convicted of the kidnap and murder of a 12-year-old boy in March 2009, while stating that “children and their innocence are gifts of God, and when their faith and trust are shattered in a very ghastly and shocking manner, the social fabric gets permanently damaged”.
Additional sessions judge Shivaji Anand also sentenced 32-year-old Jeevak Nagpal -- he was 21 at the time of the crime -- to life imprisonment for the offence of kidnapping and seven years each for tampering of evidence and criminal intimidation. Since death penalty is the highest punishment in this case, the matter will now be heard by the death referral panel of the high court.
Anand said the crime committed by the convict was not only “brutal, diabolic and gruesome but also immensely abhorrent and ghastly, and hence deserving of the harshest punishment”.
“I am of the considered opinion that the act of convict was cruel and gruesome while committing the murder of an innocent child, who was hardly 12 years of age. For such an act, the convict does not deserve any leniency and there is no alternative but to impose the death sentence,” he said.
Nagpal was convicted on September 30 of the kidnap and murder of Manan Mahajan, the son of property dealer Rajesh Mahajan and a class 7 student of Bal Bharati School.
According to the prosecution, Nagpal, a CA aspirant and a neighbour of the Mahajans in Rohini’s Sector 11, had abducted Manan from outside a stationery shop on the evening of March 18, 2009, around 7pm. Since Nagpal was a neighbour, Manan had gone with him without fearing any foul play, the prosecution said.
Once the boy got into his car, Nagpal sent an SMS to Rajesh Mahajan demanding a ransom of ₹30 lakh. In subsequent text messages, sent between 7pm and midnight, he escalated the demand to ₹7 crore and threatened to kill Manan if his demand was not met. But Rajesh Mahajan saw these messages only after returning from Chandigarh, around 10.30pm.
The court, in its 132-page judgment, said these messages “clearly reflect the intention of the accused, whereby he has threatened that the child will be put to death if the ransom is not paid”.
“One of the messages sent by the convict is that if the ransom is not given, one finger will be cut every 15 minutes. Another message reads, “jitni aasani se tere bete ko uthaya hai, utni aasani se hum tumhare ghar ko bhi uda sakte hain (I can destroy your house as easily as I kidnapped your child)”,” Anand noted.
According to the police, Nagpal was driving around with Manan when Manan sensed something amiss. And when the car’s steering jammed near the Metro Walk shopping mall, Manan tried to escape, and Nagpal smothered him to death, police said.
After killing Manan, Nagpal dumped his body in a drain along a service lane in Sector 24, Rohini. Later, he visited Manan’s family and pretended to help them search for him.
The court noted that the convict not only injured the child with a jack handle but also smothered him to death. The convict did not stop there and went on dump the body in a dry drain, and thereby tried to dispose of the evidence, it said.
“Even after having committing the murder of the innocent child, the convict continued to send ransom messages to the family of the victim, which reflects the depravity of his mind,” Anand said.
While sentencing Nagpal to death, Anand said, “Children and their innocence are gifts of God. They are the future of the nation and humanity. They repose faith in their family members, neighbours and other known persons. When their faith and trust are shattered in a very ghastly and shocking manner, the social fabric gets permanently damaged beyond repair”.
Appearing for the complainant, advocate Prashant Diwan said the trial in the case has taken almost 11 years as the court gave ample of time to the defence lawyers.
Manan’s mother Aradhana said this is the message to society not to ever “resort to a short-cut to earn money”. “We have suffered a lot but finally we got justice,” she said.
Rajesh Mahajan said Nagpal had betrayed their faith.” However, I am satisfied with judgment. It’s a message to society and would set a precedent,” he said.