The verdict was delivered within 50 days from the incident after a fast track court was set up.

 

Hyderabad: In one of the fastest trials, a Telangana court awarded death sentence to a man for raping and killing a nine-month-old girl in Warangal on 19June . The verdict was delivered on Thursday by additional district sessions judge, K. Jayakumar within 50 days of the crime.

The conviction of K. Praveen, a 24-year-local youth who pleaded guilty, will be implemented only after the confirmation by the Telangana High Court. Lawyers in Warangal refused to take up his case and the the court had to appoint a counsel from the legal services authority. The judge termed the crime as “rarest of the rare”.

When news of the rape and death of the baby spread, people in Warangal took to the streets and demanded that the accused be hanged or “encountered” in public. Praveen, was found to have molested and raped several other children and women in the past, admitted to committing the crime in an inebriated condition.

Belonging to the same locality as the victim, he found the girl sleeping with her mother at her home and abducted and committed the crime, which led to her death instantaneously.

The Hanumakonda police in the city caught the accused within a day through the help of some CCTV footage on the streets and registered a case against him under the sections of POSCO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act 2012. The Warangal city police, responding to the public outcry had set up a wing and coordinated with the prosecution.

Additional public prosecutor Satyanarayana who argued the case told this newspaper that the police had produced “enough scientific evidence” including forensic repots, DNA tests and other material along with 30 witnesses in the court.

“The police filed a charge-sheet within 20 days and the trial was completed from the middle of July to 2 August,” the prosecutor said.

“Now we hope that the HC, too, would ratify the sentence and the convict will be hanged soon,” said Sridevi, a relative of the victim. The anger and outrage of Warangal public is a result of a rise in such crimes in recent times.

A couple of months ago, a serial killer had admitted to raping and killing at least a dozen girls, mostly school and college going ones, in Hazipur village in Yadadri Bhongir district, nearby Warangal.

Warangal city has also witnessed the police “encountering” three youths who threw acid on two girls, within two days of the incident in 2008. Back then, the public lauded the police for their “instant justice” meted out to the accused, instead of dragging the case for years together in the courts. However, that move of the police evoked criticism from the rights groups.

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