Pronouncing the verdict yesterday, Thane Additional Sessions Judge KR Warrier held Praful Dhadi (20) and his friend Prajakta Shelar (19), both residents of a chawl in Diva township, guilty of murdering their acquaintance Nilesh Sonar for his gold chain and disposing of his body.
The court relied on circumstantial evidence and testimony of witnesses, including an auto driver, and handed down the punishment to the duo under sections 302 (punishment for murder), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offender) and 379 (punishment for theft) r/w section 34 of IPC.
According to prosecution's case, Praful and Prajakta strangulated the victim to death with a nylon rope at their room in a chawl on October 23, 2010, after he caught Prajakta of flicking his gold chain.
"The duo even burnt Nilesh's private parts to doubly ensure that he was dead.
They also soaked the jeans he was wearing at the time of the murder in kerosene and burnt it partially," said Additional Public Prosecutor Ruma Navle.
She said the couple even removed the golden ring from the finger of Nilesh after murdering him, sold off the golden chain to a jeweller in Dombivali and purchased a big suitcase to pack Nilesh's body before abandoning the suitcase near a temple in the area.
Praful and Prajakta had hired an auto to reach the Pimpleshwar temple, prosecution said.
They were arrested from the house of Prajakta's father in suburban Ghatkopar in Central Mumbai.
Thane: A local court has sentenced a couple to life imprisonment for murdering an acquaintance at their place at Diva in the district in 2010.
First Published: Thursday, January 03, 2013, 12:10