Nagpur: A sessions court on Thursday awarded death to two collegians guilty of kidnapping and killing an eight-year-old schoolboy in Nagpur two years ago.
Sessions court principal judge Kishore K Sonawane pronounced the death verdict against Rajesh D Davare (19) and his friend Arvind A Singh (23) amidst a charged atmosphere outside the court, where thousands of people were present.
The duo -- B Com students at the city's PWS College of Arts and Commerce -- was charged with the kidnapping and brutal killing of the schoolboy, Yug Chandak, by inflicting about 26 wounds on his body, which was recovered from a remote place here a day after the murder on 1 September 2014.
A third accused -- the 17-year-old brother of one of the two killers, who was a co-conspirator in the crime -- has been sent to a juvenile remand home.
The victim's father, Mukesh Chandak, a noted medico, welcomed the judgment and said "this will serve as a strong message to society".
"We welcome the ruling and are satisfied that justice has been done; our child will not return, but it will prevent such crimes in future. This will serve as a strong message to society," an emotional Chandak reacted to media persons.
On Wednesday, Principal Judge Sonawane found the duo guilty under Indian Penal Code Sections 302 (murder), 364A (kidnapping for ransom), 201 (destroying evidences) and 120B (criminal conspiracy), for their first ever criminal offence. The order on the quantum of punishment was reserved for Thursday.
Rejecting the plea by defence lawyers Pradeep Agrawal and Manmohan Upadhyay for life sentence, the court said that though it was a first offence, it was not accidental and the crime was premeditated, planned and executed calmly.
"Merely because they are young in age does not reduce the seriousness of the crime," Principal Judge Sonawane ruled, adding that there was no question of leniency for the offence.
The crime was apparently a revenge for the alleged humiliation meted out to Davare who worked as an accountant in Chandak's office and was accused of some financial misappropriation.
Along with his accomplices, Davare planned the kidnapping and murder of the little boy.
On the fateful day, Yug returned from school around 5 pm, left his bag at the security office of the building Guruvandan Apartments, Chhapru Nagar, and went out to play.
Davare and Singh lay in wait for him on a motorcycle near the gate and after speaking briefly with them, Yug also went with them.
He failed to return that night and the next morning a frantic search was launched for the missing boy.
After hectic investigations, the police traced Yug's body to a drainage pipe in a gutter near Lonkheri village, around 25 km on the outskirts of Nagpur.
During the trial, which was one of the most keenly watched legal battles in Nagpur in recent times, the prosecution examined 50 witnesses and none of them turned hostile, considered a rarity in such cases.
Additional Public Prosecutor Jyoti Vajani, who did the examining of witnesses, was assisted by Chandaks' lawyer Rajendra Daga and police investigating officer Satyanarain Jaiswal.