The CBI court in Ranchi awarded death sentence to a convict Rahul Raj for the rape and murder of an engineering student at her home in the city's Booty Basti in 2016 on Saturday, December 21.
Special judge of the CBI court Anil Kumar Mishra awarded the death sentence to the convict with fine of Rs 5,000 under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), life imprisonment with fine of Rs 5,000 each under Sections 376 and 449 of the IPC and seven years rigorous imprisonment with fine of Rs 5,000 under Section 201 of the IPC.
The convict Rahul is a resident of Dhurgaon, Nalanda district in Bihar. The case was first registered at Sadar Police Station in Ranchi on December 16, 2016, and was handed over to the CID of Jharkhand later. CBI had registered the case on the request of Jharkhand government under Sections 448, 302, 201, 328, 376, 511 and 34 of IPC on March 28, 2018, against persons unknown at the time.
The victim, a 4th-semester student of the Ormanjhi Engineering College was alone in her house at Booty Basti in Ranchi on December 15, 2016, and was found dead the next morning by a neighbor who had been prompted to check on her by the victim’s elder sister when she was not responding to calls. Her family was in Barkakana in Ramgarh district.
She was found to have been stripped, her face and torso were charred, a wire noose gripped her neck and there was blood in her private parts. The post-mortem report revealed that she was murdered after being raped. Rahul’s DNA matched the samples collected from the vaginal swabs and nail clippings of the victim.
When the news of the rape and murder spread, the students of the Engineering College held a candle march and demanded immediate justice.
The CBI took over the investigation of the case from the state police and found that Rahul, who was living in the nearby area around three months before the occurrence of the crime, left the place. During further investigation, it was found that Rahul was absconding. He had hidden his identity and used various names. He was traced and was initially arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Police.
A senior CBI official told agencies, “Our investigation led this case to a logical conclusion. We arrested Rahul in June this year. The CBI submitted a charge sheet on September 13, and the charges were framed on October 25. As many as 30 witnesses were examined. The prosecution could not produce any evidence or witness. The final argument was concluded two days ago and the court convicted him on Friday. We are happy that the victim got justice.”
“Our investigation revealed that Rahul was living in a room close to the victim’s house around two-three months before the murder and disappeared right after the murder. He was identified as a resident of Dhurgaon in Nalanda district of Bihar. His parents, Umesh Prasad and Nilima Devi, were examined and their blood samples were taken for a DNA test,” the CBI official added.
“It was found that the suspect was a habitual criminal with a number of cases pending against him. He was facing trial at Patna court for raping a minor and had escaped from police custody. He had come to Ranchi and was living under aliases. While we were looking for him, we came to know that he was lodged in Lucknow jail for another case. We secured his production warrant,” the official said.
“The convict was using a mobile phone that he switched off a day before the crime because he feared that Bihar police might detect his number. We found that his number was no more active in the area. That was a vital clue for us,” the official added.
The convict was provided legal help by District Legal Services Authority and senior lawyer Vinod Kumar Singh was nominated as the defense lawyer. “Charges were framed against him under Sections 302 (murder), 376 (rape), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) and 449 (house trespass),” Singh had told agencies.
The father of the deceased expressed his satisfaction over the judgment. “I request the court to give him a death sentence,” he had said after the accused was convicted.
The process was fast-tracked and all 30 prosecution witnesses were produced and examined by the CBI court in about 16 days. The court then found the accused guilty and convicted him on Friday.
(With Inputs from ANI)