The City Sessions Court on Thursday sentenced a 42-year-old man to death for rape and murder of a two-and-a-half-year-old pavement dweller in Kolkata in 2013.
On Tuesday, chief judge of the court held Suresh Paswan guilty of kidnapping (IPC section 364), rape (IPC section 376), murder (IPC section 302) and section 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
While announcing the quantum of punishment on Thursday, chief judge Siddhartha Kanjilal, who is also the judge designated for the special POCSO court, described the incident as “rarest of rare cases”.
The trial was conducted at the special POCSO court.
“The judge heard 32 witnesses, including the coroner, before passing the order,” said Tamal Kanti Mukherjee, the chief public prosecutor.
The incident took place on the intervening night of July 20 and 21, 2013. The family of the victim used to live on a pavement under the Vidyasagar Setu and used to get by through begging.
It was the grandmother who first realised that the child was missing when she woke up late in the night to feed the child bottled milk. The child’s body was found at a nearby spot the next morning.
“Paswan had fled to his ancestral home in Bihar soon after the incident. We arrested him from Bihar and found the missing undergarment of the victim in his possession,” said police officer Atanu Banerjee, who was part of the investigation.
The victim’s mother was mentally challenged and was deserted by her husband.
The family registered a complaint with the police the day after the crime, naming Paswan as the suspect.
The complaint alleged that Paswan was spotted roaming near the area, with mud covering his legs.
Paswan was a casual employee at a prominent club in Kolkata.
The child’s body was found in a drain near the house with injuries on the head, chin and private parts.
The post-mortem confirmed rape. Death was caused by strangulation.
First Published: Mar 28, 2019 19:46 IST