The sessions court on Thursday convicted six of the eight officials arrested in connection with the Kavdas orphanage case. The court sentenced the prime accused, orphanage chief Pundalik Gole (35), to life imprisonment on charges of rape and sodomy.
The case goes back to 2010, when it was revealed that 18 mentally-challenged children living in Thane’s Kavdas orphanage were being starved and raped.
The court, presided over by principal judge Shalini Phansalkar Joshi, while passing the order held that the accused persons, who were appointed as caretakers of the mentally-challenged children, betrayed the trust of the victims as well as the state. “The accused have committed injustice towards the kids and deserve to be punished.”
The prosecution was successful in proving all the major charges slapped against the accused.
Prime accused Gole was charged for raping and having unnatural sex with the victims. Apart from this, he was also charged with attempt to murder and culpable homicide. The court sentenced Gole to life imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs30,000 on him. He was also convicted under the Juvenile Justice Act.
The court also convicted Salim Sayyed (36), Sikandar Pinjari (36) and Jitendra Chavhan (30) for raping the victims. The court therefore sentenced all the three accused to rigorous imprisonment of five years, 10 years and five years, respectively.
The court has further convicted Gole’s wife Shakshi (30) on charges of attempt to murder, thus sentencing her to rigorous imprisonment for seven years. Accused Ramchandra Bagul (29) was convicted for outraging the children’s modesty, thus sentencing him to one year of rigorous imprisonment.
However, since there was no enough evidence against Harshade Nichite (25) and Sonal Shirke (28) who were arrested for abetting the crime, the court acquitted the two.
Rashmi Karandikar, the investigating officer in the case, told dna, “The judgment passed by the sessions court is commendable, as the court appreciated the evidence produced by the prosecution against the accused.”
Special public prosecutor advocate Vaibhav Bagade said, “We are happy with the verdict.”
Play by play
June 2010: FIR registered against Pundalik Gole
August 2010: The children are rescued from the orphanage
Sept 2010: Pundalik Gole is arrested
January 2011: First charge sheet is filed only against Gole
June 2011: Remaining seven accused are arrested by investigating officer Rashmi Karandikar
Aug 2011: Second charge sheet is filed against the seven accused
Dec 2013: Six out of eight convicted in the case