CHENNAI: A trial court on Monday sentenced S Daswant to death a year after he allegedly raped a 7-year-old neighbour and disposed of her body in a travel bag on a bypass road in the city’s outskirts after partially burning it.The case was a much-watched one as Daswant went absconding last December after allegedly killing his mother too when he was out on bail. Chengalpattu Mahila Court judge P Velmurugan largely relied on the witness accounts of residents in the same apartment who had last seen the child with Daswant on the fateful evening of February 5 last year, and him later carrying a travel bag out of the apartment. Semen found in the child’s underwear in the travel bag tested positive for Daswant’s DNA in the forensic tests.
According to the prosecution, Daswant, living in a same apartment, had lured the child into his flat around 6.30 pm and smothered her to death when she tried to raise alarm as he sexually assaulted her. An hour later he packed the body in a travel bag and partially burnt it in a deserted spot on a bypass road near Anakaputhur.
Besides the death sentence on charges of murder, the court sentenced him to jail terms to various periods, including the maximum term of 15 years under sections of POCSO Act. In all, 30 witnesses deposed in the case. Also, 19 material evidence and 45 documents were examined.
The Daswant’s case was one of the cases that aroused lot of curiosity with many dramatic twists and turns. When he allegedly killed his mother too after released on bail, the police faced lot of criticism for delaying the filing of charge-sheet in the case. Even after he was nabbed in Mumbai, where he was hiding after allegedly killing his mother, he managed to give a slip to police and was caught only a day later.
But the court’s verdict on Monday upholding almost all charges made out by the police has put a full stop to all criticism.
The build-up of a water-tight case with forensic reports and coherent witness accounts helped the prosecution in proving beyond doubt that it was Daswant who killed the child. The recovery of the anklet and ear-rings of the child from Daswant’s room and the credit card transactions and CCTV recordings that showed that he bought petrol in pet bottles in a petrol bunk on February 5 evening nailed the case. He is believed to have used this petrol to set the body on fire.
The last seen theory and material evidences have connected the sequence of events as per prosecution’s case. A total of 30 odd witnesses deposed in the case and 19 material evidences and 45 documents were examined in the trial. “We had to wait for the DNA test results to file the charge-sheet and in this case we used a much of scientific evidences like superimposition to prove that the body belonged to the victim. It was a challenging case from the very beginning as a simple missing case turned out to be a horrific crime and now we are satisfied that justice is delivered,” Assistant Commissioner of Police Kannan, who was involved in the investigation, said.
Besides the death sentence on the charge of murder, the court has awarded maximum number of years imprisonment to Daswant on various other charges. He was awarded seven years’ jail on the charge of kidnapping, 10 years under section 366 of the IPC (kidnapping with the intention of illegal sexual intercourse).