HC strikes down 26-yr-old’s death sentence for rape, murder of minor

The four-year-old’s father, Varisali Chowdhry filed a missing complaint on January 1, 2012, after the girl disappeared. The next day, her body was found dumped at Vile Parle and police arrested an employee of a local godown owner and his purported accomplice.
The judges noted that the post mortem report cited traumatic asphyxia as the reason for her death which could have been caused by an accident.(HT Photo)
The judges noted that the post mortem report cited traumatic asphyxia as the reason for her death which could have been caused by an accident.(HT Photo)
Updated on Jun 04, 2019 03:24 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Mumbai | ByKanchan Chaudhari

The Bombay high court (HC) on Monday struck down the death sentence of a 26-year-old Nazir Javed Khan who had previously been found guilty of raping and killing a four-year-old girl from Sakinaka in 2012. In its ruling in the appeal case, the court did, however, maintain the man’s conviction and seven-year rigorous imprisonment for disposing of the minor’s body.

The four-year-old’s father, Varisali Chowdhry filed a missing complaint on January 1, 2012, after the girl disappeared. The next day, her body was found dumped at Vile Parle and police arrested an employee of a local godown owner and his purported accomplice.

The main accused, and one Vinod Meher were tried for raping the minor, killing her and disposing of evidence by dumping the body at an isolated spot. On March 18, 2016, a special Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, (POCSO) 2012, court convicted the duo and sentenced Khan to death. Meher was convicted for destruction of evidence and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment.

The convicts later appealed the case in the HC. A division bench of justice BP Dharmadhikari and justice PD Naik on Monday acquitted both of the charges of rape and murder after noticing that there was no conclusive evidence suggesting the four-year-old was raped or murdered.

The judges noted that the post mortem report cited traumatic asphyxia as the reason for her death which could have been caused by an accident. There was also no evidence suggesting the girl was sexually assaulted. The judges noted that Meher was not in town on the date of the attack.

They, however, upheld Khan’s conviction for destruction of evidence, primarily on the basis of his statement before the court admitting that the body was found at the godown, but was removed to an isolated spot.

The court noted that after the father of the deceased filed a petition before the HC complaining about the faulty investigation into the minor’s death, the case was handed over to an assistant commissioner of police for a second probe. However, no efforts were made to find out the cause of death. The judges therefore, felt the victim’s parents were entitled to compensation. Apart from directing the state government to pay 10 lakh to the parents of the deceased, the court also directed it to undertake an inquiry to fix responsibility on the erring investigating officer and recover the amount from him.

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Thursday, January 20, 2022