A magisterial court sentenced Yogesh Raut — the prime accused in 2010 case of gangrape and murder of software professional Nayana Pujari — to six years of rigorous imprisonment after he was convicted for fleeing from police custody in September 2011, and remaining at large for over 18 months.
Judicial Magistrate (First Class) Shrikant Nimse handed out the sentence to Raut after hearing the arguments of both prosecution and defence lawyers and also Raut himself who pleaded for a “lenient approach”.
On Friday, judge Nimase had convicted Raut under four different sections of the Indian Penal Code for fleeing, impersonating and forging documents.
The six-year term includes two years for dodging lawful detention under Section 224 of the IPC, one year for impersonation under Section 419, two years for forgery for purpose of cheating under Section 468 and one year for using forged documents under Section 471.
The four sentences will run consecutively. Judge Nimase observed that the offences committed by Raut were serious and showing leniency may send out a wrong signal to the society.
“When the rape and murder case was pending in the sessions court, the accused had fled from the custody of the police and had remained at large for over one and half years. His absence affected the trial in the sessions court and has also led to delay in the trial. Several eye-witnesses in the (rape) case were living under threat. Precious resources and man-hours of the police team looking for Raut were wasted.
Escaping from custody when a case is pending, acquiring a false identity and obtaining forged documents all of these are serious crimes and if shown leniency it will send out a wrong signal to the community hence it’s important to give strict punishment to the accused,” observed the judge.
Citing Section 31 of Criminal Procedure Code, the judge observed that in the case of consecutive sentences, the aggregate punishment cannot exceed twice the amount of punishment which the court is competent to. Thus, awarding a collective sentence of six years. The court of a Judicial Magistrate (First Class) is competent to award three years of imprisonment for a single crime.
Assistant Public Prosecutor Suchitra Narote argued for maximum punishment for Raut arguing that his act had resulted in huge delay in the case and expenditure of time and resouces of Pune Police to nab him.
Defence lawyer B A Aloor said that he would challenge the judgment in the Sessions Court. He had requested the court to show leniency to Raut as he was a bread winner for his family consisting a wife, mother and a son. On September 17, 2011, Raut had fled from the Sassoon General Hospital where he was brought for treatment after he complained of body itch. Pune Police had arrested him in May 2013 from Shirdi.