President Pranab Mukherjee has rejected the mercy petitions filed by two men convicted of the kidnapping, rape and murder of Jyotikumari, a BPO employee from Pune, in 2007. The death sentence given to Purushottam Borate and Pradeep Kokade was upheld by the Supreme Court in May 2015. With their petitions for clemency rejected by the President, the duo, lodged in the Yerwada Central Prison, are now likely to face execution.
According to the statement issued by the President’s Secretariat on June 14, it had received the recommendations of the Ministry of Home Affairs in the case on May 12, following which the mercy petitions were rejected on May 26. According to sources, the convicts had pleaded for mercy, stating that they had ageing parents to look after.
The Maharashtra State Home Department is awaiting a formal communication from the President’s office before chalking out its future course of action. “We have informally learnt about the President’s decision on rejecting the mercy plea of the two convicts… We are, however, awaiting a formal communication after which we will initiate the process of issuing the black warrant,” a senior official from the State Home Department said.
The Home Department will fix a date for execution after receiving a formal communication, sources said. The same would be communicated to the Prison Department which will write to the concerned court for issuing a death warrant or a “black warrant”. Upon receiving the warrant, the concerned Superintendent of Police will prepare for the execution on a date which is not less than 14 or more than 21 days from the date of issuing of the warrant, sources said.
Borate, aged about 36, and Kokade, about 30, may be the next to face execution in Maharashtra after 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts convict Yakub Memon was hanged at the Nagpur Central Prison on July 30, 2015.
Jyotikumari, who was from Gorakhpur, had joined Wipro BPO (then Spectramind) in December 2006. She stayed with her sister and brother-in-law. Around 10 pm on November 1, 2007, the last day of her notice period with the company, driver Borate and his friend Kokade had picked her up in the office cab for her night shift. When she did not return by 10 am the next morning, her brother-in-law lodged a missing complaint with the Chatushrungi police.
Her sister had reported that Jyotikumari’s Bangalore-based friend was unable to get through her cellphone after her call — made during the cab ride — was abruptly disconnected the previous night. Police found her body on the morning of November 2 at Gahunje, about 35 km from Pune, but were unable to establish her identity until they came across the complaint filed by her brother-in-law. Borate and Kokade were then arrested.
Seeking the harshest punishment for the accused, the prosecution had argued that the victim had died a violent death. She was strangulated with a dupatta, her bones were fractured, her head was smashed against a stone causing a skull fracture and her wrist slashed with a blade.
The duo was convicted and sentenced to death by a sessions court in Pune in March 2012. The sentence was upheld by the Bombay High Court in September 2012 and subsequently by the Supreme Court in May 2015. Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao had rejected their mercy petition in April 2016.