INDIA: HC UPHOLDS DEATH SENTENCE FOR RAPIST & KILLER OF MINOR
October 31, 2019:
The High Court of Uttarakhand has upheld the death penalty sentence awarded by a lower court to Akhtar Ali who was convicted of raping and murdering a minor at Kathgodam in 2014, the Daily Pioneer reported on 19 October 2019. The division bench of justice Alok Singh and justice Ravindra Maithani viewed the crime as the most heinous. (Sources: dailypioneer.com, 19/10/2019)
It will be recalled that on 20 November 2014, a seven- year-old girl had come along with her father from Pithoragarh to attend a marriage function in Kathgodam. During the night, she disappeared from the marriage venue. The disappearance of the girl led to considerable public outrage in the region with members of the public also coming out on the roads to protest.
During the police investigation, the body of the girl was found from the banks of the Gaula river about four days later. Following investigation, the police arrested the truck driver Akhtar Ali, a native of Bihar, Prempal Verma, a native of Uttar Pradesh and Junior Masih alias Foxy of Rudrapur. In its investigation, the police also resorted to DNA analysis report to strengthen its case. Out of the three accused, the Nainital district court had found Ali guilty and sentenced him to death. While Prempal Verma was sentenced to five years’ rigorous imprisonment for being involved in the conspiracy, the third man-Junior Masih alias Foxy was not found guilty.
The division bench of the High Court viewed the rape and murder of the girl to be the most heinous of crimes and maintained the death sentence awarded to Ali by the district court.