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SC commutes death sentence in minor’s rape, murder case
Our Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 18
The Supreme Court has commuted the death sentence of a convict from Maharashtra in the rape and murder of a four-year-old girl within a week of it rejecting the plea of Kolkata’s Dhananjoy Chatterjee in an almost identical case.

A Bench of Mr Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Mr Justice A.R. Lakshmanan, passed the verdict on commuting the death sentence of Rahul, alias Raosahib, who was awarded the extreme punishment by a Pune Sessions Judge for the rape and murder of the minor in 1999.

The court converted his death sentence into life imprisonment yesterday. The copy of the verdict is yet to be made available to the media.

The Bombay High Court had confirmed the capital punishment to Rahul, holding that the crime committed by him fell the “rarest of the rare” category.

Advocates K. Radhakrishnan and Sudhir Kulshrestha, who appeared for the convict, had challenged the death sentence on the ground that he was only 24 when the alleged crime was committed by him in 1999 and he should be given a chance to reform.

They had also challenged the trial court and the High Court’s verdicts on the ground that the evidence against him was only “circumstancial” in nature and there was no direct evidence.

The trial court had found him guilty of luring the child of his neighbour in Pune to his house on the pretext of offering her chocolate before brutally raping and murdering her.

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