Four years after Aditya Ranka, the 13-year-old son of diamond merchant Jeetendra Ranka, was kidnapped and brutally murdered, a sessions court on Thursday awarded life imprisonment to the accused Vijesh Sanghavi for the crime. This comes three days after the court acquitted the victim's cousin Himanshu Ranka due to a lack of evidence. On Wednesday, Special Public Prosecutor Kalpana Chavan had sought the death sentence, stating that the crime qualified as the rarest of rare cases.
On Thursday, Principal Judge SB Agrawal sentenced Sanghavi to life imprisonment under Sections 302 (murder), 364 (kidnapping), 201 (causing the disappearance of evidence) and 387 (intimidation in order to commit extortion) of IPC. The court also said that the term sentences for offences under Sections 387 and 201 shall run consecutively, and upon completion of these sentences, the life term shall commence. Sanghavi was also asked to pay a fine of Rs 9 lakh, which will be given to Aditya's mother.
After the sentencing, Sanghavi broke down. His wife and relatives gathered around him, crying in the courtroom. The court immediately asked the police to take the family outside the court.
Aditya's mother, who was present in the court, was also emotional. She kept saying, "Mere bacche ko tadpa tadpa ke maara hai, uske karmo ka fal usse mila hai aaj (He tortured my son to death; he has reaped the consequences today)." She also went to Sanghavi and repeated this to him.
Speaking to mid-day, Aditya's mother Chandrika Ranka said, "Sanghavi deserved the death sentence, but I can live with the life term. When my little son's body was brought back, I couldn't even hug him, because that man had burned him. My son pleaded with him, but he had no sympathy."
What about Himanshu?
Speaking to the press outside the court, Himanshu said, "I am innocent. I loved my little brother (Aditya) and could never have done this to him. I used to call him Chikki, and would do anything for him... This incident has destroyed my family; I also lost my little brother and my uncle (Aditya's father)."
Explaining the calls he made to Vijesh, Himanshu further said, "When Chikki went missing, I called Vijesh because I knew he had good contacts in the police. We were trying to seek help from him. But this one call changed my life; I wish I never had made that call."
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