Mumbai: A 22-year-old person, facing death penalty for raping and murdering a minor girl, today told the Bombay High Court that he was falsely implicated in the case and that there were no eye-witnesses to prove the crime.
The court was hearing an appeal filed by Raju Paswan, a native of Bihar, challenging death sentence awarded to him by a lower court. The court is also hearing confirmation of death penalty.
Paswan was convicted last year for murdering and raping a nine-year-old girl in June 2010 in Sangli district of Maharashtra. The sessions court had termed the case as falling under "rarest of rare" category and awarded him death penalty.
The day-to-day hearing in this case began today before a bench of Justices P V Hardas and A M Thipsay.
Urging for convict`s acquittal, his lawyer Niteen Pradhan began picking up holes in the prosecution`s case. He said test identification parade was not held and there were no eye witnesses who had seen Paswan committing the crime.
"There is no eye witness to prove the prosecution`s case that Paswan had taken the victim to a secluded spot or that he raped her. Even the test identification parade was not conducted. While the police claim that it was done, there is no witness who has identified him", Pradhan submitted.
"Only one prosecution witness, a kid, claims to have seen the victim been taken away by a man wearing black shirt and pant. The accused (Paswan) has not been identified as the one who took the victim," Pradhan argued.
The incident dates back to June 21, 2010 when the victim had gone missing from her house in Bedag village in Sangli district. The victim`s father had lodged a missing person`s report. During the probe, police learnt that the victim was last seen with the accused, who used to live in the vicinity.
According to prosecution, when the accused was detained and interrogated, he revealed that he had raped the girl and murdered her and then dumped her body in a well.
While awarding death penalty to Paswan, the lower court observed that he had committed a heinous crime of raping an innocent child and it was a "cold-blooded murder. The accused is a menace to the society and there is no chance of reform. He does not deserve any leniency."