A 27-year-old autorickshaw driver was sentenced to death for raping and murdering a three-year-old girl, two days after robbing and murdering an elderly woman in the city in 2018, by a designated Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) court in Rajkot on Tuesday.
The designated court of additional district judge DD Thakkar pronounced the man guilty under sections 302 (murder), 363 (kidnapping), 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and section 6 of the POCSO Act. The rape and murder took place on August 9, 2018.
“We demanded capital punishment for the convict. His victim was just three years old and she was raped and murdered. The man had also murdered an elderly woman just 48 hours before the rape and murder of the child,” Sanjya Vora, district government pleader of Rajkot told The Indian Express.
Vora added that the court concurred with the prosecution’s case that the man kidnapped the child while she was playing near a construction site where her parents were at work, took her to a deserted place on Bhavnagar Road and raped her twice within an hour. After sexually assaulting the child, the man murdered her by smashing her head with stones.
“We cited the judgement of a Surat court that awarded capital punishment to a man for raping a three-and-a-half-year-old girl that was upheld by the Gujarat High Court in two months. The court concurred with our argument that this was a rarest of the rare case as the accused committed two murders within 48 hours and therefore the convict deserved to be hanged,” Vora said.
The prosecution drew attention of the court that just two days before raping and murdering the child, the convict allegedly murdered a 70-year-old woman who hired his autorickshaw to return home after visiting her daughter. He allegedly took her to an isolated place on the outskirts of the city and robbed her before murdering her and dumping her body in a culvert. After murdering the child, the man went to a nearby paan shop to purchase bidis. The paan shop owner noticed blood stains on his clothes and enquired about it. The man told him that he met with an accident.
Later when the paan shop owner read about the murder of the child, he contacted police and told them about the man. “DNA test of blood stains on the man’s clothes matched with the girl’s and rape and murder was confirmed. The paan shop owner identified the autorickshaw driver in court also,” said Vora.