Additional sessions judge S D Darane on Tuesday awarded life imprisonment to 82-year-old Mohiniraj Kulkarni for murder of 10-year-old Rohini Randive,10 years’ rigorous imprisonment (RI) for rape and three years’ RI for destroying evidence. Kulkarni has also been fined Rs 12,000 or in default undergo nine more months in jail. The victim’s mother,Rekha Randive,who was a co-accused in the case,had turned approver and was released during trial after her statement was recorded.
When the judge asked Kulkarni,if he had anything to say about the quantum of punishment. He told the court that injustice had been done to him. Police have framed me in the case as I was the only man in the house, he said. His family members and relatives were also present in the court.
While arguing for maximum punishment for Kulkarni,additional public prosecutor Vikas Shah said this was the rarest of the rare offence committed by Kulkarni to satisfy his lust. He said other than Kulkarnis age,there was no mitigating circumstance or criteria to show leniency towards the accused.
On the other hand,Suhas Jadhav who argued on behalf of defence lawyer Viraj Kakade,told the court that Kulkarni was over 80 years and his wife,who was paralysed,had expired during the course of trial. This is not rarest of the rare case and Kulkarni is not a threat to the society as he does not have any criminal antecedent, he said.
The judge observed that while it must be considered that the victim was a minor,it cannot be said that he was a danger to the society. Sentence to life would be adequate punishment that would serve both purposes of being deterrent and reformative, he said.
Kulkarni,a retired senior production manager with Hindustan Antibiotics Limited,had raped and murdered 10-year-old Rohini at his bungalow in Narayan Peth on October 14,2009. Police investigations had revealed that Kulkarni had offered Rs 50,000 to Rekha for keeping quiet about the incident. He and Rekha had an illicit sexual relationship for about a year,when she had started working as a domestic help to take care of his bedridden wife Mrunalini.