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Life for child rape, murder

A 45-year-old man from Ghatshila subdivision, around 75km from Jamshedpur, was on Thursday awarded rigorous life imprisonment for raping and murdering his eight-year-old neighbour three years ago, the case dubbed rare by the court that handed the sentence.

By Our Correspondent
  • Published 15.01.16
  •  
Arvind Vishal, alias Tera, at the civil court in Sitaramdera, Jamshedpur, on Thursday. Picture by Animesh Sengupta

A 45-year-old man from Ghatshila subdivision, around 75km from Jamshedpur, was on Thursday awarded rigorous life imprisonment for raping and murdering his eight-year-old neighbour three years ago, the case dubbed rare by the court that handed the sentence.

Arvind Vishal, alias Tera, a resident of Guhiapal village in Baharagora, Ghatshila, was found guilty by the court of district and sessions judge, Satya Prakash Sinha, on Tuesday. The sentence was pronounced at 1.20pm on Thursday after a prolonged hearing on the jail term.

Finally, the sessions judge observed: "Though the case of rape and murder by Arvind Vishal is a rare one, the court is sentencing him to rigorous life imprisonment."

According to the prosecution, there were 15 witnesses in the case, including the victim's parents.

But later, her parents turned hostile and the court convicted Vishal on the basis of the statements of the remaining 13 witnesses, forensic test and post-mortem reports.

Baharagora police registered a case of rape and murder against Tera, a married man with a 17-year-old son, on February 28, 2013, the day the girl's body was recovered from a well at Guhiapal village, where she and the accused resided.

She had gone missing the day before, that is February 27, 2013. The girl was playing in front of her house, along with three-four other children, around 4pm when Tera approached her and whispered something in her ear. The victim started following Tera, who took her to an unknown place.

"When she didn't return home in the evening, her parents started searching for her and eventually came to know from her friends that she had gone with Tera. They went to Tera's house at night, but he pleaded ignorance about the victim's whereabouts, saying that she had gone back after following him for some distance," one of the lawyers on the prosecution side said.

The next morning, when the girl's mother went to fetch water from the public well, around 200 metres from her house, she saw her body inside. The parents informed police, who picked up Tera.

During interrogation, Tera confessed to his crime and also led the police to an arhar field, around 300 metres from the village, where he raped the girl and strangulated her to death before dumping her body in the well.

Police recovered a silver chain that the girl used to wear and her undergarment from the spot.

Tera was arrested and sent to jail. The body was sent to MGM Medical College for post-mortem.

"Police subsequently raided Tera's house and recovered a lungi, which was sent to the Ranchi-based forensic science laboratory for tests. Reports confirmed that the semen found on the lungi and also on the girl's body was that of Tera. On the basis of the post-mortem and forensic test reports, confession of the accused and deposition of the witnesses, the court convicted Tera," the lawyer added.

Asked why the victim's parents turned hostile, public prosecutor Birendra Prasad said that they might have been influenced by the convict.

On Thursday, no one from the convict's or the victim's families turned up at the civil court in Sitaramdera, though the sentence created quite a buzz. "The court was liberal while handing out the sentence considering the nature of the crime. I had expected capital punishment so that it could be a lesson for the society," said S.K. Singh, a lawyer, told The Telegraph.

Another lawyer A.K. Ambaste, however, said he was satisfied with the verdict and sentence. "Rigorous life imprisonment is also a harsh sentence as it means languishing in jail entire life."

Do you think Tera should have received capital punishment? Tell ttkhand@abpmail.com