(Eds: Updating with details and court's observation) Hyderabad, Jan 30 (PTI): A special court in Telangana on Thursday sentenced three men to death for raping and murdering a Dalit woman in little over two months ofthe gruesome crime reported in November 2019.
The court also imposed a total fine of Rs 26,000 on them.
The body of the 30-year old woman with throat slit and stab marks was found in Lingapur mandal of Kumram Bheem-Asifabad district on November 25, 2019, a day after the offence.
The three men--Shaik Babu (35), Shaik Shabuddin (50) and Shaik Muqdum (aged around 45), all labourers, were arrested on November 27 and booked under IPC sections 376 (D) (gang rape) and 302 (murder) besides under relevant provisions of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and sent to judicial remand.
The second and the third accused were also booked under IPC section 404 (dishonest misappropriation of property).
On Thursday, Principal District and Sessions Judge M G Priyadarshini (incharge of the special court) delivered the verdict and convicted the three men under IPC section 302 (murder) and relevant provisions of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and gave death penalty to them, Additional Public Prosecutor M Ramana Reddy said.
The trio was also sentenced to life imprisonment under IPC section 376 (D), while the second and the third convict were also sentenced to three-years imprisonment under IPC Section 404 for stealing the mobile phone and Rs 200 cash of the deceased.
All convictions shall run concurrently.
According to the Additional Public Prosecutor, the court held it as the 'rarest of the rare case' because it was a heinous offence against the woman by not only committing rape and killing her and also fracturing her ribs.
The woman was a vendor, selling balloons for a living.
Expressing happiness over the verdict, the woman's husband said 'We are happy. Justice has been meted out and we request the court that they should be hanged immediately.' The Telangana government had last month issued orders, designating the Fifth Additional Sessions Court as the special court for speedy trial in the case.
On December 14, 2019, a charge sheet was filed and the trial commenced on December 23.
Arguments were completed on January 20 and the case was subsequently posted for judgment.
As many 25 witnesses were produced by the prosecution which had been demanding capital punishment on the lines of death penalty awarded to the accused in the Nirbhaya gang rape murder case in Delhi.
The three accused had earlier pleaded not guilty.
Earlier in December, the woman's family and different people's organisations had staged protests and demanded an 'encounter' death for the three men on the lines of the four accused in the 'Disha' (woman veterinarian) gang rape and murder case.
The four accused in the veterinarian case were killed in an alleged exchange of fire with police on the outskirts of Hyderabad on December 6, 2019. PTI VVK SS BN SS SS