A special court Wednesday sentenced two school van drivers to 10 years in jail for raping a four-year-old kindergarten student of a city school in 2016. The court found the two men guilty of sexually abusing the child on two occasions.
According to the prosecution, one of the accused was assigned to pick up and drop the child in his school van by her parents. On December 15, 2016, the child complained of pain in her private parts. Her caretaker also informed her parents that for two days, the minor had returned around half-an-hour late from school.
When asked, the child told her mother that she was sexually abused by van uncle , following which an FIR was filed against the driver. Later, the child told her mother that there was another uncle present in the van and that he had also sexually abused her. The minor s statement was recorded again and a crime was registered against the second van driver too.
The 16 witnesses examined by special public prosecutor Jyoti Sawant, included staffers of the school, like the security guard and peon, who had seen the minor being picked up by the accused after school, as well as a CCTV expert who had installed the cameras in the school. Special Judge Madhuri More relied on the deposition of the minor, where she identified both the accused.
The defence for the second accused had claimed that the minor had given a different name to identify the second van driver and hence he was not involved in the offence.
The court held that while the minor had identified the first accused as van uncle , who ferried her to school every day, she did not know the name of the second accused, but had identified him in court.
The court also observed that the accused did not have any defence explaining why the minor was dropped late to school on December 13 and 14, 2016.