20-year-old man was sentenced to death in Ghaziabad for raping and murdering girl

5 February, 2023 | Pragati Singh

death National

20-year-old man convicted in the savage sexual assault and murder of a four-year-old child in December last year, stating the crime falls into the "rarest of rare" category.

A Ghaziabad court on Saturday sentenced to death a 20-year-old man convicted in the savage sexual assault and murder of a four-year-old child in December last year, stating the crime falls into the “rarest of rare” category.

“The behaviour of the accused was cruel and barbaric against the victim and the manner in which the crime was committed makes it fit case for rarest of rare category… Accused Sonu Gupta under provision 6 of the Pocso (Prevention of sexual offences against children) Act and IPC 302 (murder) is awarded death penalty. The accused is to be hanged till death,” read the court order by special judge (Pocso) Amit Kumar Prajapati.

According to the postmortem examination report, the dead suffered significant injuries as a result of the assault, according to Dr Prachi Pal, one of the experts on the administration-appointed autopsy panel. The autopsy results indicated that rape and strangulation were the causes of death.

Police charged the convict with abduction, rape, murder, and evidence destruction under sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Pocso Act in their charge sheet submitted on December 15, 2022. Additional Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act provisions were also imposed.

The court judgement, however, stated that the prosecution was unable to prove Gupta’s allegations under the SC/ST Act, and that the crime was not committed only because the victim belonged to the SC group.

“Police filed a charge sheet on December 15, 2022 and after the speedy trial the man was awarded death penalty. The entire case was purely circumstantial and supported by forensic evidence,” Diksha Sharma, deputy commissioner of police (trans-Hindon), said on Saturday.

The deceased’s father stated that while the family had undergone significant trauma, the death punishment imposed to the accused provided them with solace.

“Although our damage is irreparable there is some consolation that the convict is given death penalty. I have two other children left with me and we have restricted their movement ever since the incident with my daughter,” he said. At the time of the crime, the victim was a kindergarten student.

“We are working hard to recover from the incident… On the day of the incident, I last saw her around 15 minutes before she went missing. She was pleading with me to accompany her on my bike ride. But I declined her invitation because I had some work to do. This is the only thing I regret. “She would have been alive if I had brought her,” he said. The convict used to work as a daily wager in a Ghaziabad packing industry.

In response to the court ruling, the convict’s father claimed that the police had implicated Gupta.  “We are a poor family and have no means to hire a lawyer to defend my son. He seems to be implicated by police just because he was roaming around in the girl’s locality on the day of the incident. He was given an amicus curiae during the trial. I am clueless about the legal procedures, and by the time we could get the details of the case, the trial was over,” said the father, Shiv Gupta.