Almost eight years after the brutal gang rape and murder of software engineer Nayana Pujari, a sessions court in Pune awarded death sentence to all the three accused. However, the fourth was released as he turned approver. The court has found the accused guilty on Monday, seven years after the brutal incident. The victim was working with an IT company in Pune and was a resident of Katraj. On the evening of October 7, 2009, Pujari had informed her husband Abhijit that she had missed company’s pick-up vehicle and would be late. When she didn’t reach home, her family lodged a complaint. Two days later her body was recovered near Rajgurunagar.
Special judge judge L L Yenkar, the fourth judge to hear the case since 2011, pronounced Yogesh Raut, Mahesh Thakur and Vishwas Kadam guilty under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 376 (rape), 302 (murder), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 361 (kidnapping).
Investigations revealed that Pujari was gang-raped in a car and was looted for Rs 61,000 using her ATM card before she was strangled to death. The CCTV footage showed her IT firm’s security guard Raju Chaudhari and taxi driver Yogesh Raut (26) offering her lift and later two other – Mahesh Thakur (24) and Vishwas Kadam (26) – getting into the taxi. Police probe later arrested four, including Chaudhari who turned an approver in the case and was released on Monday. Also during the trial Raut escaped but was later re-arrested in Shirdi after 20 months. A report also states that the trio, three months before targeting Pujari, had raped and murdered a 22-year-old in a similar manner.