Hyderabad: In one of the fastest trials, a court in Telangana on Thursday awarded death sentence to a 27-year-old man for raping and killing a nine-month-old girl in Warangal in June this year.
The trial in the sensational case that triggered an outrage began on July 24 and First Additional District Sessions Judge, Warangal, K Jayakumar delivered his verdict on Thursday, completing the process in two weeks, police said.
The speedy verdict comes close on the heels of a court in Kolkata sentencing a man to life imprisonment on August 1 for raping and impregnating a teenager within a week of registration of the complaint, making it one of the fastest convictions in a POCSO case.
The judge, after hearing the final arguments of the prosecution and the defence on Thursday, first convicted P Praveen of rape and murder and after a brief adjournment pronounced the quantum of punishment.
He was sentenced to death by hanging under IPC Section 302 (murder) and life imprisonment for rape under Section 376 among other offences and also under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, police said.
The judge imposed a fine of Rs 20,000 on the man, who had taken away the baby to a secluded place in the early hours of June 19 when she was asleep alongside her parents on the terrace of their house in Hanamkonda area and sexually assaulted and later killer her.
In his order, he observed it was a rarest of rare case of kidnapping, committing rape on a nine-month old baby girl and murdering her and therefore he was giving the death penalty, according to Additional Public Prosecutor M Satyanarayana Goud, who represented the prosecution in the case.
Praveen, a resident of the same locality, was arrested on June 19 after interrogation and later remanded to judicial custody.
Condemning the incident, a large number of local people had taken to the streets and staged protests for several days then, demanding justice for the baby and stern punishment to the accused. According to police, the charge sheet in the case was filed in the court on July 11 and charges were framed on July 22.
The trial started on July 24 and witnesses were examined within six working days.
"The court has awarded the death penalty. It is an excellent judgment... We were able to build the case based on scientific and medical evidence and account provided by the witnesses, Warangal Police Commissioner V Ravinder told PTI over phone.
State Director General of Police M Mahendar Reddy congratulated the investigation and scientific teams of the Warangal Police Commissionerate, Police Commissioner Ravinder, Prosecutors,officers of the concerned departments in delivering their expertise and expeditious work to give justice for the victim within two months of the crime.
The DGP also extended his gratitude to the witnesses, members of the Bar and the Civil Society for their help and assistance, an official release said.
The dastardly crime came to light after the mother of the toddler noticed her daughter missing around 2.30am. During a search by the family, Praveen was seen holding the baby covered in a towel on his shoulder and walking away.
The accused after seeing them dropped the child and tried to escape but the girls uncle along with some local residents managed to get hold of him and handed him over to the police following which he was arrested.
The child, rushed to a hospital, was declared brought dead by doctors. (PTI)