JAGATSINGHPUR: A designated fast track court on Tuesday awarded death sentence to a 28-year-old man for rape and murder of a nine-year-old girl at Gadharishpur within Erasama police limits in March last year. This is the second capital punishment under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act in the State.
Holding the accused Kalia Manna guilty of the crime, Additional District-cum-POCSO special court Judge Moon Rani Mishra handed him the death sentence. The victim had gone missing from her home at Gadaharishpur village on the evening of March 20, 2018. Though her father Paresh Adi and other family members launched a frantic search, she could not be traced. The next morning Puja’s naked body was found in a cashew farm about 300 metres from her house.
The girl’s body bore injury marks near her private parts which indicated that she had been sexually assaulted. On the basis of Paresh’s complaint, police registered a case under Sections 376, 302 of the IPC and Section 4 of the POCSO Act. The accused was arrested from Badambadi bus stand in Cuttack while trying to flee the State.
During interrogation, Kalia confessed to have committed the crime and revealed that he raped the girl and strangulated her to death. The accused stated that he was under the influence of alcohol when he committed the crime.
The gruesome incident had sparked massive public outcry across the district with people demanding the death penalty for the accused. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had announced compensation for the victim’s family following which the district administration provided `5 lakh to the girl’s parents. Hailing the verdict, villagers of Gadaharishpur village including the victim’s parents expressed their satisfaction over the punishment awarded to the accused.