BENGALURU: The Karnataka High Court on Thursday commuted the death penalty awarded to alleged serial killer ‘Cyanide’ Mohan Kumar to life until death in a murder case. Observing that he is a menace to society and threat to women, the court sentenced him to life until his death with no remission. The case relates to the rape and murder case of one Anita (22) of Kolimane in Bantwal taluk of Dakshina Kannada district. While modifying the trial court’s order, a division bench of Justice Ravi Malimath and Justice John Michael Cunha also directed the prison authorities to not release him until his death.
“The circumstances and the cogent evidence calls for simple imprisonment till the end of his life. Hence, it is proper, just and appropriate to sentence him to imprisonment for life and he shall not be released for rest of his life with no scope for remission,” the bench said. The court also acquitted him of the charges of rape and abduction. “The accused had lured the victim on the pretext of marriage. The doctor who conducted the autopsy did not give any opinion on whether rape was committed before the murder. Therefore, there is absolutely no material to prove the rape and abduction charges,” the court said. The court also noted that the doctor did not send vicera samples and stomach contents of the victim for chemical analysis despite directives from SC. Initially the doctor felt that the death was due to organo-phosphorous poison. Later, after examining cyanide traces in the finger nails and the condition of the victim’s body, he stated that cyanide was also a cause for the death. It is a clear case of murder for gain, the court said.
When judges sought his opinion on quantum of punishment, Mohan, who argued the case on his own, pleaded for life imprisonment whereas the Additional State Public Prosecutor Vijay Kumar Majage pressed for death penalty. Convicting him of all other charges, including murder, the court observed: “The school teacher opted for voluantary retirement in 2002 to pursue criminal activities. Twenty similiar cases have been lodged against him between 2003 and 2009. Hence, this case was treated differently,” the bench said while declining to accept the trial court’s finding that it was among the rarest of rare cases warranting death penalty. One of Mohan’s victims, who is lucky to be alive, is the prime witness in the Anita murder case. Mohan had taken her to Madikeri and the two stayed in a lodge where he raped her.
The next day, he took her to the bus stand and tried the same trick. But the woman said he had worn a condom and hence there was no need for her to take birth control pills. Then he scared her saying that the condom had torn. She went into the toilet but did not take the pills. She tasted it and lost consciousness. After she was found, she was hospitalised but did not complain to the police fearing her family’s reputation. But after Mohan’s arrest in the case, she deposed against him.
On June 17, 2009, Mohan Kumar took Anita from Bantwal to Hassan promising to marry her. He allegedly raped her in a lodge near the bus stand. The next day, he took her to the bus stand and asked her to take a contraceptive pill. Anita consumed the pill laced with cyanide and was found dead in a toilet. The IV Additional City Civil and Sessions Court of Dakshina Kannada district imposed death penalty on him on December 21, 2013.