A 35-year-old man, who was awarded the death sentence by a special court for allegedly raping and murdering a minor boy in Chakan, is suspected to have committed suicide by hanging himself in the premises of the Yerwada Central Prison. The death row convict, identified as Khalaksingh Janaksingh Panchal, hailed from Hamarpur in Uttar Pradesh. He had allegedly raped and murdered an eight-year-old boy in Chakan in May 2013.
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The father of the boy had lodged a complaint at the Chakan police station. Police had booked Panchal under sections 302, 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and sections 4,6,8,10 of the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) Act. Panchal is suspected to have hanged himself with a piece of cloth in room number 14 on Thursday night, said police. Jail officials rushed him to the hospital, where doctors declared him dead. Police said no suicide note was found at the spot.
Panchal worked as a labourer at the construction site of a school. On the evening of May 15, 2013, Panchal lured the boy to the construction site by giving him a chocolate, according to police. He allegedly raped the boy and then killed him at the spot. The boy’s family members found his body at a farm near the construction site in the early hours of Friday. A police team nabbed Panchal at the Pune railway station while he was allegedly trying to flee on May 22.
Police investigation revealed that Panchal had earlier been arrested for allegedly raping and murdering an eight-year-old girl on November 29, 2011. He was later released on bail.
On September 20, 2016, Special Judge S R Jagtap awarded the death sentence to Panchal in Rajgurunagar court. This was the first case in Pune district in which an accused arrested under the POCSO Act was awarded the capital punishment. According to jail officials, Panchal had been lodged in Yerwada since May 30, 2013, and he was kept in a separate cell.