Mumbai: Observing that there was enough evidence to nail the guilty, the Bombay High Court has upheld the life imprisonment awarded to a Pune resident for raping and killing his minor niece eight years ago.
A Pune sessions court had awarded life imprisonment to Bhiva Chapte on two separate counts of rape and murder of the victim. He was also handed down 7 years jail term for causing disappearance of evidence. All the three sentences were to run concurrently.
The High Court, hearing the appeal filed by Chapte against his conviction, found him guilty on all the three counts and observed that there was enough evidence to connect him with the crime.
It was prosecution`s case that the appellant, a resident of village in Pune district, had lured the 11-year-old daughter of his cousin to a nearby forest on February 15, 2005 under the pretext of giving her money to buy sweets and raped her there before throttling her, which caused her death.
The body of the girl was found on the next day, i.e. on February 16.
Chapte had denied his involvement in the crime, saying he was falsely implicated in the case.
However, police had recovered his blood-stained shirt and undergarments at the time of his arrest. The case was based entirely on circumstantial evidence and there was no eye witness.
"After giving our anxious consideration to the facts and circumstances of the case, we are of the opinion that the appellant committed rape on the victim girl and thereafter, he caused her death by throttling her", observed Justices Vijaya Tahilramani and P D Kode last week.
The Judges also relied upon the statement of the victim`s sister who said that the appellant had taken the girl to a nearby jungle on the pretext that he would give her money to buy sweets. "In such a case, the burden is on the accused to prove that he is not guilty", the bench said.