A 22-year-old man was awarded death penalty Monday by a POCSO court in Katni for raping and murdering a seven-year-old girl on June 5, taking the number of cases in which rapists of minor girls have been given death sentences this year in Madhya Pradesh to 15.
The body of the victim had been found in a plastic bag abandoned in a dry well at Chargawan village under Sleemanabad Police Station in Katni district on June 6 this year.
District prosecution officer Dharmendra Taran told The Indian Express that the farm labourer had kidnapped the girl when she had gone out to buy tobacco for her father. The accused, who was arrested the next day, confessed that he had raped and murdered the girl as the victim’s father had scolded him for molesting another minor girl earlier.
Additional Sessions Judge of Katni, Madhuri Raj Lalji held that the crime met the rarest of rare criterion because the accused not only raped the girl, but also killed her in a barbaric manner. “He behaved like a beast,’’ the judge said while handing down the death sentence.
In the last 11 months, various courts in the state have handed down 18 death sentences, probably the highest in the country. In 15 of these cases, the victims were minor girls, who were either raped or raped and murdered.