Thane: In a speedy trial, a 53-year-old man was today sentenced to death by a court here for raping and murdering a five-year-old girl in January this year.
Thane Additional Sessions Judge P H Mali while pronouncing the verdict observed that the case fell under the "rarest of rare" category as the girl had been done to death in the most cruel manner and a young life was snuffed out.
Prosecutor Sangeeta Phad had sought death penalty for accused Dattu Ambo Rokade, from Koprigaon in Vashi, stating that such an inhuman act deserved nothing less than capital punishment.
Also, circumstantial evidence and statement of the wife and son of Rokade, that he was capable of committing such a heinous act, nailed him.
The crime took place on January 22 this year when the minor girl was playing in the ground near her house while her elder brother and sister were watching TV. Her parents had gone to work, investigating officer in the case API Pushpa Chavan-Dighe told the court.
Rokade lured the girl to his house and then sexually assaulted her, Dighe said.
When the parents of the victim were unable to trace her, they lodged a police complaint. The following day, during the early hours, they found their dead daughter dumped at their house entrance in a disrobed state.
The accused after raping the girl had strangulated her to death and packed her in a gunny bag. He hid the body in a garbage bin before leaving her in front of her house, the court was told.
The accused was charged under sections 302, 376, 377, 201 and 367 of IPC and also under section 4 and 5 of The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
A total of 27 witnesses were examined in the case. During the trial, the court was told by locals that they had seen a old man carry a gunny bag into the building compound that day.
The accused was staying near the house of the victim and took care of his widowed daughter's kids. He was reportedly driven out of Murbad in Thane, where he attempted rape on a school teacher.
This is the second capital punishment awarded by a Thane court in less than a month. On May 16, an industrial worker Shekar Gupta, (22) who was found guilty of sexually assaulting and killing a eight-year-old, was given death by Additional Sessions Judge A A Sayeed.