Free Press Journal

HC acquits 82-year-old man in case of rape and murder of minor


Mumbai:  Disbelieving the prosecution’s story, the Bombay High Court has quashed and set aside the ten years rigorous imprisonment awarded to an 82-year-old man for raping and killing a nine-year-old girl in Pune in 2009.

Considering his advanced age and the fact that he had already spent many years in jail, Justices P V Hardas and A S Gadkari, on June 10, set aside the conviction of Mohiniraj Yashwant Kulkarni, a resident of Narayan Peth in Pune, by a sessions court in January 2012.

The mother and uncle of the girl had taken the victim to Poona Hospital on October 14, 2009, saying the girl was found unconscious at the terrace of their building. A doctor examined her and declared her dead. It was also noticed that she was raped.

The mother of the girl, Rekha, was arrested on suspicion and during the custodial interrogation she alleged that the accused Mohiniraj, who was her neighbour, had told her that he had raped her daughter at the terrace. Mohiniraj was also arrested and both were tried.

Later, Rekha turned approver and was granted pardon, but Mohiniraj was tried and convicted, following which he filed an appeal.

The high court acquitted him on the grounds of discrepancies in the statement of the witnesses and weak evidence.

The court noted that the scarf which was seized at the time of spot panchnama was the ligature which was used for committing the murder as per the evidence of Medical Officer.

“The natural reaction of the accused would be to hide or destroy the scarf and not to tie to it to the railing of the staircase to enable the police to seize it,” the judges observed.

The judges further held that the medical certificate regarding the examination of the appellant was not proved by examining the Medical Officer, who had examined the appellant. Also, in the initial medical report, there was no reference about sexual assault. This fact has been admitted by the Investigating Officer.