Special public prosecutor Rohini Salian on Monday sought confirmation of punishment of a man who was sent to the gallows in 2013 for raping and killing deaf and mute orphaned girls in a shelter home he founded.
Escorted by a police constable, Ramachandra Karanjule was present in the courtroom of Justices Ranjit More and Anuja Prabhudessai. While Salian put forth her arguments, trying to build a foundation for the case, Karanjule seated on the last bench of the courtroom, looked on without expression.
Karanjule, who founded the Kalyani Mahila Bal Kalyan Seva Sanstha (KMBKSS) in Kalamboli, had moved the High Court challenging his conviction and seeking acquittal.
Salian tried sketching the whole case again. Karanjule founded the orphanage for mentally challenged women and children in Panvel. But in the garb of a noble act, he exploited them sexually and mentally. She showed the judges pictures of the victims, allegedly abused, physically and sexually. The senior prosecutor said Karanjule and his accomplices, in an inebriated condition, would gag, rape and torture the girls.
Salian read the compilation of evidences, statements of witnesses and girls – who testified with interpreters using gestures. Psychiatrists, members of a High Court appointed committee, state’s Child Welfare Committee, inspected the shelter home and found out that the girls were victims of sexual torture.
The court had found him guilty of murdering a deaf-mute girl, gangraping five minors and sexually assaulting six at the shelter home.
Karanjule, who was called “papa” by the victims, beat them up, forced them consume alcohol and raped them, said Salian. “The girls called him ‘papa’ and ‘papa’ did all these horrible things with the daughters by forgetting all morality and rules of society and the dharma,” the trial court had observed during its sentencing. The trial court had even termed the acts of Ramachandra Karanjule and his accomplices as “diabolical” while observing he was not worth of any leniency.
On the contrary, Karanjule in his appeal questioned 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.