BHUBANESWAR / BERHAMPUR : The lone juvenile accused in the sensational rape and murder of a five-year-old girl in Nayagarh four years back was sentenced to 20 years rigorous imprisonment by a designated court on Tuesday.
The additional district and sessions judge-cum-children’s court of Nayagarh convicted him under sections 363, 376AB, 302, 201 of IPC and section 6 of POCSO Act.
He was awarded 20 years imprisonment each under section 302 of IPC for murder and section 6 of POCSO Act read with section 376AB of IPC for rape. Additionally, he was handed three years RI under sections 363 and 201 of IPC and a fine of `1000. The verdict comes as a major success for the Crime Branch (CB) of Odisha Police and brings huge relief to the state government as the gruesome rape and murder on July 14, 2020 in Jadupur village of Nayagarh district had led to national outrage and snowballed into a major political controversy.
After Nayagarh Police botched up the initial probe and Opposition political parties pinned down the government over alleged role of a BJD minister, the case was handed over to the Crime Branch amidst growing demand for a CBI probe by victim’s family as well as BJP and Congress.
The case grabbed limelight after the minor girl’s parents attempted self-immolation in front of the state Assembly on November 24. On November 27, on the direction of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, a special investigation team (SIT) led by the then IG Arun Bothra, known for his razor sharp investigating skills, was formed.
While the Opposition accused the government of defending the minister, the SIT made the first breakthrough on December 20, 2020 by arresting the boy from Jadupur.
Investigation revealed he lived in the same neighbourhood and had raped and murdered the minor girl in his house before disposing of her body.
It was the SIT which collected crucial material and forensic evidence from the crime scene months after the incident which strengthened the prosecution’s case though the Opposition continued to target the government and question CB investigation.
The juvenile convict is currently lodged in a special shelter in Rourkela and will be shifted to a jail once he turns 21 as per law. During the trial, the prosecution examined 31 witnesses, exhibited 135 documents and produced 18 material objects before the court.