The Bombay High Court has upheld the life sentence awarded to a labourer for the rape and murder of a minor girl after observing that prosecution has proved the victim was last seen with the accused.
A division bench of Justices V K Tahilramani and V L Achliya was earlier this week hearing a petition filed by Arvind Kumar Yadav challenging the life sentence awarded to him by a sessions court for the rape and murder of the six-year-old girl.
According to the prosecution, on February 23, 2007 the convict, who worked as a mason in a construction site in neighbouring Thane district, took the girl with him under the pretext of buying her biscuits and chocolates.
The victim's parents also worked in the same site and knew the accused and hence they allowed her to go with him. When the girl and Yadav did not return even after a few hours, the parents went in search of the duo. The girl's body was found in a nearby hillock. A case was registered and the accused was arrested from his house nearby on the same day.
The high court after perusing medical evidence noted that the victim was raped and sexually assaulted before she was murdered. "We have no hesitation to hold that the prosecution has fully established that the deceased had met with a homicidal death. The prosecution has also established that the victim was raped before she was murdered," the court said.
The bench observed that the whole case against the accused person was based on circumstantial evidence and the last seen theory.
"If we consider overall evidence in its totality, then the prosecution has established complete chain of circumstance that is taking away the victim girl by the appellant (Yadav) and the appellant being lastly seen in the company of victim girl about three hours prior to her dead body being recovered" the court said.
Accepting the prosecution's case, the court upheld the life sentence awarded to Yadav and dismissed his appeal.