A special court in Andhra Pradesh, on Tuesday, sentenced a man to death for the rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl. The fifth Additional District-cum-Special Judge for Trial of Offences under POCSO Act sentenced Barlapudi Pentiah to death for the crime he committed on November 10 last year at Gollapudi in Vijayawada.
Prakash alias Pentaiah was arrested after the girl's body was found in a bag inside his house, next door to the girl's house. Neighbours said at the time that Prakash had even pretended to look for the girl along with the neighbourhood search party, before his wife found the body hidden in a corner of their house.
The accused was arrested within 24 hours of registration of the First Information Report (FIR). The investigation was also completed and the charge-sheet filed swiftly.
The trial was completed by March. However, the judgment was reserved when the coronavirus induced lockdown was announced.
The child's father expressed happiness on the verdict. According to sources, the court had delivered the verdict after taking the accounts of 35 witnesses in the case. Even Pentaiah's wife reportedly gave statement against her husband in the court.
Pentaiah raped the girl in Gollapudi village of Krishna district in Andhra Pradesh in 2019. Police had registered a case against Pentaiah under multiple sections such as 302, 201, 376 of the POCSO Act.
According to police, this is the 18th conviction in cases of rape or Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act that has been secured by the police since the Disha Bill was passed in December 2019.
The impetus given to investigation of crimes against women and children by Disha initiatives, particularly strengthening of police and forensic capabilities helped in speedy conclusion of cases in such heinous crimes, police said.
The scientific investigation by Vijayawada city police supported by DNA analysis created a strong and fool proof case for prosecution.
Andhra Director General of Police (DGP) Gautam Sawang appreciated the professional alacrity displayed in the investigation done by Vijayawada police and said that this conviction sends a message that those guilty of crimes against women and children will not be spared and will act as a deterrent to all such predators.
The DGP stated that further consolidation of Disha initiatives in line with the government's vision of a safe and secure society for women and children is on the anvil.
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