Four-year-old Anitha* had just come back home from school. Her mother Rani and Rani's friend Basil were not at home, instead her mother's paramour Renjith was. The man sexually abused the child, grievously wounding her as she resisted in any way she could.
Anitha died after the assault, but what emerged later was that it was not only Renjith, but her mother and friend too who had failed this little girl. The trio disposed off the girl's body and pretended that she had gone missing.
Five years after the girl from Chottanikkara in Kerala's Ernakulam district was found murdered, a Kerala court pronounced the verdict in the case on Monday.
The Ernakulam POCSO court sentenced the first accused Renjith to death. The court has also given life imprisonment to Rani, the second accused in the case.
Rani's aide and third accused Basil has also been given a life sentence. The court also slapped a fine of Rs 50,000 on the first accused and Rs 20,000 on the other two accused.
According to reports, Rani was given the maximum punishment after the court observed that a mother, who was supposed to protect the child, had harmed her instead.
The court had on last Wednesday found all the three accused guilty of murdering Rani's daughter in 2013. The child was an LKG student. While the court was set to pronounce the quantum of punishment last Friday, it was postponed after the first accused Renjith tried to commit suicide by consuming poison in jail.
The case dates back to October 2013, when the child was living with her mother Rani in a rented house in Chottanikkara. Rani's aide Basil too lived with them, posing as her younger brother. The incident happened when Basil and Rani were not at home, and Rani's paramour Renjith sexually abused the child when she got back from school. When the child resisted, Renjith attacked her. The child sustained grievous injuries on her hands and spine.
The girl's body was later disposed off, by all the three accused, at a construction site, following which Rani approached the Chottanikkara police the next day claiming that her daughter was missing. According to reports, the child was killed since they thought she was a hindrance to their illicit relationship.
Many reports also say that the woman was in a relationship with both Renjith and Basil.
At the time of the incident, Rani's husband Vinod was in prison in a case related to drug abuse.
The police found inconsistencies in Rani's statements and upon further questioning, she confessed to committing the crime. Renjith, Rani and Basil were then charged under various sections, including murder, destruction of evidence and various provisions under the JJ Act and POCSO Act.