New Delhi: A Delhi court Thursday sentenced two men to 20 years in prison for raping a five-year-old girl and said she experienced ‘exceptional depravity and extreme brutality’. Additional Sessions Judge Naresh Kumar Malhotra also granted compensation of Rs 11 lakh to the survivor.
Advocate HS Phoolka, appearing for the survivor, said he will appeal against the order in the high court and seek life imprisonment for the two convicts. The court had January 18 convicted Manoj Shah and Pradeep Kumar.
In the gruesome incident April 15, 2013 at Gandhi Nagar, the convicts had shoved objects in the victim’s private parts and abandoned her in a room, believing she was dead. The child was rescued 40 hours later April 17.
In an over 100-page judgment, the court said: “In our society, minor girls are worshipped as a goddess on certain occasions, but in the present case, the victim child, who was aged about five years at time of incident, had experienced exceptional depravity and extreme brutality. The crime against the victim was committed in a most grotesque and revolting manner and the collective conscience of the community was shaken.
The incident had taken place four months after another gruesome gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old paramedic student, who came to be known as Nirbhaya.
The court had convicted Shah and Kumar under sections 363 (kidnapping), 342 (wrongful confinement), 201 (disappearance of evidence), 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 376 (2) (gangrape), 377 (unnatural offence) and 34 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 6 (aggravated penetrative sexual assault) of the POCSO Act.
Shah and Kumar were arrested from Muzaffarpur and Darbhanga in Bihar April 20 and April 22 in 2013, respectively.
The police had said some foreign materials – three pieces of a candle and one hair oil bottle – were taken out from the body of the victim, which was also proved by doctors during recording of their statements in the court. The girl had undergone multiple surgeries at the AIIMS in Delhi.
In 2014, Kumar moved the court claiming he was a juvenile at the time of his arrest. The trial court took three years to decide his application of juvenility and transferred the case in April 2017 to the Juvenile Justice Board, which granted him bail in June.
Following this, the mother of the rape survivor moved the Delhi High Court against the trial court’s order declaring Kumar to be a juvenile. The high court in 2018 declared that he was not a juvenile and sent him to trial before the sessions court.