Gujarat court awards death sentence to man for rape, murder of toddler

Special POCSO court judge observed that the case was the “rarest of rare”

A POCSO court in Surat on Tuesday awarded death sentence to a 35-year-old migrant worker for raping and murdering a two-and-a-half-year-old girl last month here in Gujarat, terming it as the "rarest of rare" case.

To ensure fast justice delivery, the Pandesara Police in Surat had submitted the charge sheet in seven days after the arrest of the accused on November 8. The court had recorded statements of 43 witnesses and the judgment came within a month.

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The court had on Monday convicted the accused, Guddu Yadav, on various charges of kidnapping, rape and murder under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

On Tuesday, special POCSO court judge P.S. Kala observed that the case was the "rarest of rare", and awarded capital punishment to the accused under IPC Sections 376-AB (rape on a woman under 12 years of age) and 302 (murder).

The court also asked the state government to pay ₹20 lakh as compensation to the victim’s family.

On the last day of the hearing on Monday, public prosecutor Nayan Sukhadwala had demanded capital punishment for the convict, who hailed from Bihar and was currently working at a factory in the Pandesara area of Surat city with his wife and two children.

To back his argument for the harshest possible punishment, Mr. Sukhadwala had urged the court to consider the case as the "rarest of rare", and cited 31 judgements given by different courts in similar matters in the past.

The act of the accused was so barbaric that it caused the girl’s internal organs to come out of her body, the prosecutor had informed the court.

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The accused had even thrown away the victim’s body in bushes to hide his crime, he said.

On the other side, the lawyer of the accused had sought leniency, saying the capital punishment would make his children’s future uncertain.

As per the prosecution, the victim, who was the daughter of a migrant worker couple, also hailing from Bihar, was abducted, sexually assaulted and then smothered to death by the accused on the night of November 4.

The body was found on November 7 near a factory, located about one km away from her house.

The police, after scanning the footage of several CCTVs and collecting information from their informers and locals, arrested the accused on November 8.

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