Ramchandra Karanjule,sentenced to death last month by a sessions court that found him guilty of murdering a deaf-mute girl,gangraping five minors and sexually assaulting six at Kalyani Mahila Bal Kalyan Seva Sanstha (KMBKSS) in Kalamboli,has moved the High Court challenging his conviction and seeking acquittal.
Karanjule,the trustee of KMBKSS,contended that the court held him guilty with no material to bring the offence under section 302 (punishment for murder)…
The court had observed that a severely malnourished minor girl had been in Karanjules custody and was sexually assaulted and beaten. She suffered from ailments like tuberculosis but was taken to a hospital only when she was on the death bed. Convicting Karanjule and others in the case,the court had observed,Such deaths are more diabolical than deaths by shooting and stabbing.
In his appeal filed through lawyers Mahesh Vaswani and Niranjan Mundargi,Karanjule alleged the Child Welfare Committee member who lodged the complaint was an interested witness. The appeal questions testimonies of witnesses including the victims,and the psychiatrist and interpreters who interacted with them. Karanjule said there was no independent interpreter and the girls could have been tutored.
The minor mentally and physically disabled girl who died in hospital on April 29,2006,Karanjule claimed,had been complaining of stiffness in knees for three months,abdominal pain for 15 days,and swelling in her legs,vomiting and joint ache. Karanjule said her haemoglobin was 3.3 and acute anaemia was detected only after her death. She was taken to hospital on April 24,2006 and hence,he cannot be held responsible,he stated.
Two others,Khandu Kasbe and Prakash Khadke,were sentenced to life imprisonment and orphanage superintendent Sonali Badade was sentenced to 10 years in jail. Another accused Nanabhau Karanjule was given a two-year jail term for molestation.
The sessions court had said,The only objective behind running the orphanage was to satisfy lust and earn money. Ramchandra exploited the girls for years and allowed his friends to exploit them.