A special court on Thursday awarded death sentence to a 35-year-old man who had unnatural sex and murdered an eight-year-old boy, Rohit alias Sonu Gorakh Dukre, in Bapdev Wasti in Mauje Kadachiwadi village in Chakan in May 2013. This is the first case in Pune district in which an accused arrested under sections of Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) has been given capital punishment. The accused, identified as Khalaksingh Janaksingh Panchal, is a native of Hamarpur in Uttar Pradesh. He was working as a labourer on a construction site of P K Foundation School in Kadachiwadi village when the incident took place.
Gorakh Suresh Dukre (37), father of deceased boy, had lodged a complaint in this case at the Chakan police station. Police had booked Panchal under Sections 302, 377 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and sections 4, 6, 8, 10 of POCSO Act.
As per the complaint, Gorakh was residing in Bapdev Wasti in Kadachiwadi with his family. The accused, Panchal, used to visit Bapdev Wasti often. He used to purchase chocolates from a local grocery shop and distribute it to the children in Bapdev Wasti.
Around 6 pm on May 15, 2013, Panchal lured Gorakh’s son Rohit by giving him a chocolate and took the boy to a construction site. At this spot, Panchal forcefully had unnatural sex with Rohit. As Rohit tried to object, Panchal murdered the boy by strangulating him.
Later, Rohit’s family members found his dead body in a farmland, near the construction site, around 1.30 am on May 16. Gorakh then lodged a police complaint and named Panchal as a suspect. A team, led by then police inspector Sushil Kadam, immediately launched searches and nabbed Panchal at Pune Railway station while he was trying to flee.
Probe revealed that Panchal had committed a similar crime in the past. He was arrested by the police for alleged rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl at Narhe village on November 29, 2011. Police said that he managed to get bail in this case, but after being released he again committed a similar crime in Chakan.
Meanwhile, during court trial, assistant public prosecutor Girish Babanrao Kobal examined 10 witnesses. “Witnesses included children who were accompanying the deceased boy before the incident, the shop owner, the contractor and the doctor. Also, the fact that he had committed a similar heinous crime in 2011 was considered seriously by the court. On Tuesday, the special judge, SR Jagtap, in Rajgurunagar court awarded death sentence to the accused. This is the first case in Pune district in which an accused arrested under the POCSO Act has been awarded capital punishment,” Kobal told The Indian Express.
The court order states that Panchal is convicted under sections 235 (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure for an offence punishable under sections 302, 377 of IPC and sections 6 and 10 of POCSO Act.
The accused Panchal be “hanged by the neck till he is dead for an offence punishable under section 302 of IPC,” it is stated. As per the order, Panchal is also sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for life for offence punishable under section 377 of IPC and section 6 of POCSO Act.