Mumbai: Stating in its detailed order that the accused was a ‘pest of society’ and that his ‘act is not worthy of showing any sort of mercy’, a special court under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act sentenced a 35-year-old man, Vadivel, to death for sexually assaulting and then murdering a nine-year-old in April 2019. The child’s body, clad in a school uniform, had been found in a decomposed state in a septic tank.
This is the second death sentence to be handed out by the court in as many days. On Thursday, Additional Sessions Judge Harsha C Shende had sentenced 45-year-old Mohan Chauhan to death in the gruesome rape-murder case of a 32-year-old woman in Sakinaka. It was Judge Shende’s last day in court as she has been transferred to Nagpur.
On Friday, after being sentenced, Vadivel appeared to be relaxed and cheerful outside the courtroom.
Vadivel had been convicted in 2013 in another sexual crime against a nine-year-old from the same locality. He had committed the crime 11 months after his early release from jail for good behaviour, on April 4, 2019. The child had returned from school and her mother sent her to a nearby shop, but she never returned. Police investigation had found that the man had sexually assaulted the child before murdering her and disposing of her body.
Judge Shende said in the judgment that he had committed the horrendous crime in less than a year of coming out of jail. The court noted that the innocent girl had come out of her house, still in her school uniform, just for a cup of tea, only to be carried away by the accused to satisfy his lust, after which he killed her. “To destroy evidence, he killed the girl in a horrible, spine-chilling and filthy manner,” the order stated, adding that if given a lesser sentence, he would show good behaviour, get the sentence pardoned and commit the same crime, ruining the life of another girl. “The POCSO Act was enacted to provide children a safe environment to grow up in…but the present accused committed one crime after another repetitively, abuses young girls...” the court said.
The judgment stated that the accused was ‘a pest of society’ and if he were exposed to society again, then the lives of many more young girls were likely to be endangered. Judge Shende said that to show leniency or mercy in the case of such a heinous crime and to the accused who had shown no repentance or remorse after exhibiting extreme depraved mentality, would be a travesty of justice.
Special Public Prosecutor Vaibhav Bagade had, on Thursday, sought a death sentence for the man and argued that there was no scope for reformation. Vadivel’s advocate Sunanda Nandewar had sought leniency, arguing that the case did not fall in the category of the ‘rarest of the rare’ to warrant a death sentence.