The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear on Tuesday the appeal of a 48-year-old man awarded death penalty by the Rajasthan High Court for abducting, raping and killing his four-year-old neighbour at Sriganganagar in 2012. Besides the convict, his juvenile son also took part in the offence of rape and murder of the minor.
"List it for hearing on Tuesday," a bench of justices J S Kehar and C Nagappan said after the lawyer for the condemned convict Kalu Khan mentioned the plea seeking urgent hearing.
Khan moved the apex court against the April 4 verdict of the high court by which his appeal against the conviction and award of death penalty has been dismissed. The high court allowed the state's reference and confirmed the death penalty in the case.
The girl, whose parents had gone out, was lured by the convict on the promise of giving her some berry on the morning of May 3, 2012, the prosecution said. Khan and his minor son raped the victim in turn and later, as her condition worsened, they killed her before burying her in a pit in their courtyard, it added.
Some witnesses had said that during the search, they found the juvenile son of the accused burying something in a pit and on being confronted, he panicked and that led to the recovery of victim's body. In the appeal, filed through lawyer Asha Jain Madan, the convict said that the courts below have failed to "appreciate that the entire prosecution case rests solely on circumstantial evidence which is wholly insufficient to base the conviction of the petitioner and that too for award of capital sentence". It also said that the prosecution's story is "totally improbable" as the convict and his minor son cannot have done the "sinful" act together.
"The capital sentence at the age of 48 years with clean past, should not have been awarded as there was all possibility of reformation of the petitioner," it said.