Even as the whole country is waiting for the day when the punishment would be served on Nirbhaya convicts, five of the 15 convicts in the sensational case of sexual assault of a minor child at Ayanavaram in Chennai were sentenced to life imprisonment by a special court on Monday.
Pronouncing the quantum of punishment, Judge R N Manjula of the court for trial of cases under POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act, also sentenced the other 10 convicts to varying terms of imprisonment. Of the five awarded life term, four would remain in prison till death.
Ravikumar (56), Suresh (32), Abhishek (23) and Palani (40) have been sentenced to undergo life imprisonment until death while Rajasekaran (40) has been sentenced to life with entitlement to be released prematurely on his application.
One of the accused has been sentenced to a seven-year prison term while the other nine have been sentenced to five years Rigorous Imprisonment. The judge had on Saturday convicted 15 of the convicts and acquitted one. Another died during the course of the trial.
The case relates to the sexual assault of a hearing-impaired minor girl by a group of 17 people, mostly plumbers, housekeepers, security guards and lift operators working in an apartment complex at Ayanavaram.
Police had charged the accused with sections 354-B (Assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe), 366 (kidnapping), 376-AB, 376-DB, 506 (i) and 506 (ii) of the IPC and sections 5 and 6 of the POCSO Act. The girl was allegedly sexually assaulted several times by the accused for over seven months.
The matter came to light after the victim, a class 7 student, narrated her ordeal to her elder sister who then informed their parents following which the girl’s father lodged a police complaint on 15 July, 2018. The verdict has no doubt sent a strong warning message to sex offenders, especially those targeting children.