A 32-year-old man was on Friday awarded death penalty for the rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl in the industrial city of Coimbatore by a special court hearing POSCO cases.
Mahila Court judge J Radhika sentenced the accused, Santosh Kumar, to death, while ordering the police to re-investigate the case.
The judge admitted a plea by the mother of the minor girl who pointed out that forensic analysis has found traces of DNA samples of another man apart from the accused. The minor’s mother had on Thursday demanded re-investigation into the case as one more person is suspected to have been involved in the case.
While handing out death penalty to the accused, judge Radhika convicted Santosh Kumar under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) and section 201 of the IPC (causing disappearance of evidence of offence or giving false information to screen offender) under which he was handed out seven years of imprisonment.
The court has delivered the verdict in just nine months after the incident shook the industrial city of Coimbatore. The minor girl was found dead near her house on the suburbs of the city and an autopsy conducted thereafter confirmed that she was sexually assaulted before being murdered.
After intense probing, police arrested Santhosh Kumar, who was the minor’s neighbour, for the crime. The accused had smothered the minor after sexually assaulting her and dumped her body in the locality, it was found during investigation.
Though the arguments were completed by both sides only a week ago, the court had set Friday as the date of judgement.
Since the forensic report confirmed the presence of another person’s semen, the mother of the minor sought re-investigation into the case.
The defence also took advantage of the plea by the mother and argued that Santhosh Kumar should not be given the maximum punishment of death since there were still doubts about the case. But the judge went ahead and awarded the death penalty to the 32-year-old.