Calling children vulnerable to the desire of ‘lusty perverts’, the Sewree Fast-Track Sessions Court sentenced a 25-year-old Girgaum resident to life imprisonment for the kidnap, rape and murder of a boy who was his neighbour.
The court observed that though the boy had consented to having sex with the youth, this was irrelevant, as the victim was a minor. The youth was convicted on the basis of his own confession, backed by eyewitness testimony and soil samples from the crime scene.
The convict Vaibhav Shantaram More was acquainted with Sonu (name changed) as they stayed in the same neighbourhood. He would often take Sonu out surreptitiously for jaunts. After Sonu’s family shifted to Matunga, More moved to his brother’s house located nearby, and their relationship continued.
On October 29, 2010, Sonu’s parents left for work, leaving him behind at home with his sister. When they returned at about 8 pm, the boy was missing. When he did not return the next day, his parents registered a missing person complaint. On October 31, a neighbour informed the boy’s parents that she had seen More take Sonu out at around 5.30 pm on October 29. The parents registered an FIR for kidnapping.
After More was arrested, he took the police to the crime scene in Kanjurmarg, where one of Sonu’s slippers was recovered. Locals then informed the police team that the Kanjurmarg police had already removed a body from the area. The body was later identified as Sonu’s. Initially, More told locals that unknown people took Sonu from him while he was urinating. Soil samples collected from Sonu’s other belongings at the spot matched that collected from More’s clothes.
During the trial, More was charged with kidnapping, unnatural sex, murder and destruction of evidence. A post- mortem revealed that Sonu had died of asphyxiation due to throttling. It was also revealed that Sonu had a relaxed sphincter and dilated anus, meaning he was habituated to anal sex.
Additional Sessions Judge GD Tadwalkar noted, “It can be safely gathered that [Sonu] was subjected to sodomy or it can be said because of old heal scar mark, that he was habituated to sodomy. He being a minor, his consent becomes insignificant and the person who commits such unnatural act and who is an active agent, therefore, becomes guilty in the eye of the law.” More could not bring anything on record to back his claim that Sonu was kidnapped from him. Two eyewitnesses, including the neighbour, testified to having last seen Sonu with More. This was corroborated by the testimony of Sonu’s sister, who said More had taken Sonu with him.
Though there was a delay in registering the FIR, the court concluded it was reasonable for the parents to wait for Sonu to return, as More regularly took Sonu out. While convicting More, the judge said, “Suffice to say, the evidence of witnesses as pointed out clearly proves that the accused kidnapped Sonu, who was seen lastly in the company of accused. Thereafter when Sonu was not found, it goes without saying that he became a victim and the nature of victimisation has been unfolded by the medical evidence, which is sufficient to hold that he was subjected to sodomy and then was murdered.”