Rape, murder of physiotherapist: 29-year-old Mumbai man awarded death penalty by court

Sadaf Modak
Around 3.30 am, one of the neighbours noticed smoke coming out of the victim s room and raised an alarm.

A 29-year-old man was sentenced to death by a special court Friday for the rape and murder of a 24-year-old physiotherapist in 2016. Special Judge A D Deo observed that the crime fell into the rarest of rare category and observed that the offence was committed in a barbaric manner , exhibiting extreme mental perversion . Last week, Debashish Dhara was found guilty of offences including murder, rape, unnatural sex, house trespass and destruction of evidence. On the intervening night of December 5 and 6, 2016, Dhara had entered the house of the victim, strangled her with a pair of jeans, raped her and then set her on fire to destroy evidence. All murders are cruel, but cruelty may vary in its degree of culpability and it is only when the culpability assumes properties of extreme depravity, it constitutes the special reasons for inflicting the death penalty and it can be justifiably imposed, the court said. Special public prosecutor, Raja Thakare, assisted by Siddharth Jagushte, had sought death for Dhara on grounds of brutality. The victim worked as a physiotherapist in a private hospital at the time of the incident. She resided with her parents and younger sister but stayed in a separate room raised by her father for her to study and sleep. On the night of the incident, she had gone out with her friends and returned home with one of them, who had left at 11.45 pm. Around 3.30 am, one of the neighbours noticed smoke coming out of the victim s room and raised an alarm. The victim was found lying on the floor with a pair of jeans around her neck. Dhara, who worked at a jeweller s shop nearby had left the city on January 10, 2017. Based on CCTV footage and statements of his employer and roommate, he was arrested in the case two months later, from his native town in West Bengal. The court said that one s home is considered to be the safest place and the crime was committed when the woman was sleeping in her own house. The gravity of the incident depicts the hair-raising beastly and unparalleled behaviour, subjecting of the victim to inhuman acts of torture before her death had not only shocked the collective conscience but calls for the withdrawal of protective arms of the community around the convict, judge Deo said, relying on the medical evidence in the case.