The incident had occurred in Bedag village in Miraj in July 2010. The division bench of Justices P V Hardas and A M Thipsay convicted Raju Paswan, a native of Bihar, on the basis of the medical report explaining the nature of injuries sustained by the girl and Paswan’s confession. Soon after Paswan was traced, he admitted to having raped the girl and dumping her body in a well to conceal the crime. Paswan was an employee of the victim’s father.
One of the victim’s playmates, a young boy, had testified against Paswan, whom he had seen dragging the girl away. The defence had argued for an acquittal on the basis that the minor’s testimony was unreliable, and that Paswan’s ‘confession’ before villagers could not be relied on. Significantly, the trial court had also failed to call upon Paswan to enter his defence, which his lawyer Niteen Pradhan argued, marred the trial.
The HC noted that Paswan was unable to explain convincingly how he knew the location of the girl’s body and school bag. The bench observed: “The accused had been stalking the victim and therefore knew for certain that she would be found at 10.30 am at the Murgaai temple playing with the children.
The accused had suddenly appeared from nowhere and had forcibly taken the victim along with him. The accused had not only satisfied his carnal lust, but then apprehending that the victim may identify him as the perpetrator of the crime, had thrown her in the well. The accused had shown no compunction in committing this gruesome act on a victim. Children are considered to be soft targets as they offer little or no resistance.
The accused has not shown any remorse when he was questioned by the police in front of the mob and has shown no remorse or regret during the trial as well as when he was questioned about the sentence to be awarded to him. The accused has committed this offence in a most gruesome and grotesque manner, which is not only repulsive but shocks the collective conscience of society. ”
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