Mumbai: Bombay High Court has reserved its order on the death penalty confirmation petition of a labourer who had raped and killed an eight-year-old girl in the neighbouring Thane district in 2009.
A sessions court of Thane had awarded death sentence to Shekhar Gupta in May this year on charges of kidnap, rape and murder of the girl. The court had termed it as "rarest of rare" case.
The matter then came to the High Court for confirmation of the death penalty. A division bench of Justices V K Tahilramani and V L Achiliya after hearing the case recently reserved its order.
The case dates back to December 25, 2009, when the victim`s blood splattered body was recovered from an isolated spot near the police firing range on the foot hill of Yeoor forest in Thane.
The next day, police arrested Gupta after three children - the friends of the victim - gave a statement that they had seen Gupta take the girl on December 24 from Lokmanya Nagar slums where she resided. During search, the police also recovered Gupta`s blood-stained clothes from his room near the Yeoor forest.
According to prosecution, Gupta had lured the girl with chocolates and biscuits and taken her to an isolated spot where he raped her and then murdered her.
The victim`s father had even run into Gupta while searching for his daughter in the neighbourhood. At that time, Gupta denied having seen the girl.
While convicting Gupta, the sessions court had relied on circumstantial evidence and the last seen theory.