Cuttack, March 14: The district and sessions judge today convicted one person of gang-raping a Catholic nun during the communal violence in Kandhamal district in 2008, an incident that had evoked worldwide outrage.
The court held Santosh Patnaik, alias Mitu, 30, guilty of gang-rape and sentenced him to 11 years rigorous imprisonment.
Nine other accused persons were acquitted of charges of gang rape, but the court sentenced two of them — Gajendra Digal, 60, and Saroj Badhei, 48, to two years and two months of rigorous imprisonment each finding both guilty of rioting, using abusive language and other charges. The court also found the prime accused, Santosh, guilty of committing these offences and sentenced him to further two years and two months’ imprisonment.
The nun was gang-raped on the verandah of a Jana Vikash Kendra at K Nuagaon under Baliguda police station limits on August 25, 2008.
The prosecution was able to prove that the accused, Santosh Patnaik, alias Mitu, raped the nun while others held hands and legs of the victim, said district and sessions judge Gyanaranjan Purohit.
“I think it fit to award rigorous imprisonment for 11 years and to pay Rs 10,000 or in default, to further rigorous imprisonment of six more months,” the judge said.
The trial court had examined 28 witnesses for the prosecution, recorded the statements of nine of the 10 accused persons and examined one defence witness. One of the accused was reportedly absconding.