NEARLY FIVE years after Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandez were killed for confronting four men who molested their friend, a special women’s court found all four guilty on Thursday. Special Judge Vrushali Joshi sentenced Jitendra Rana, Satish Dulgaj, Sunil Bodh and Dipal Piwal to life imprisonment for the remainder of their lives.
All four accused were convicted on charges of murder. Rana and Dulgaj were also found guilty of molestation.
“Two young boys lost their lives to a heinous crime committed by these four men. The two boys were only protecting their women friends from men who were treating them as their private property. It is not a case that fits into the rarest of rare category but the accused should be sentenced to life imprisonment,” said Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam.
The incident dates back to October 20, 2011, when 24-year-old Keenan, 29-year-old Reuben and five others had gone to a restaurant in Andheri.
When they left the restaurant at around 10.30 pm, the four men were outside. Rana and Dulgaj passed lewd comments and touched one woman inappropriately.
After Keenan confronted them, the four men left the spot, but warned that they would return and kill them.
Within 10-15 minutes, the men returned, with Rana and Dulgaj armed with knives stolen from a coconut shop. In the ensuing fight, Keenan was stabbed multiple times in his stomach. Reuben was also attacked with the knife.
Keenan succumbed to his injuries the same night. Reuben died on October 31.
“I am happy with the court’s decision,” said Benjamin, who was with his brother, Reuben, on the night they were attacked.
“A few days before my son died, he had told me, ‘You’ll see what I have done someday’… Now, when I realise that he lost his life standing up for someone, his words come back to me,” said Valerie, Keenan’s mother.