New Delhi/ Raigad: The Supreme Court on Wednesday converted the death sentence awarded to Viran Gyanlal Rajput of Raigad into life imprisonment of minimum 20 years for kidnapping, rape and murder of a 13-year old girl returning home from school in Kamthekarwadi village in the evening of October 2012.
It reduced the sentence on the ground that the prosecution did not establish that he was beyond reform, especially given the young age and no criminal antecedents and his post-murder conduct that no way suggests the impossibility of his reform.
He had come in appeal against the Bombay High Court on February 2015 confirming the multiple sentences awarded to him by the additional sessions judge of Mangaon, Raigad.
On finding the belongings of the girl in the forest area, the villagers nabbed Viran from the neighbouring Toranpada village and handed him over to police. The Bench of Justices NV Ramana, Mohan M Shantanagoudar and Hemant Gupta held that the appellant will serve mandatorily a minimum of 20 years without claiming remission.
Stating that life imprisonment was certainly not proportionate to the gravity of the offence, the Bench said it shares the concerns of the trial court and the High Court regarding Viran”s lack of remorse and possibility of re-offending and as such it restricts his right to claim remission in the sentence for a period of 20 years.
The court noted that the culprit had kidnapped the girl after asking if she were going home alone which she answered in affirmative. He had stopped her to know way to Pedali village. After raping her in the forest, he killed her and buried the body two feet under the ground. Police recovered the body on his testimony.