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‘Rarest of rare cases’: Surat man convicted of rape and murder of toddler gets death sentence | Surat News

A court in Gujarat’s Surat Wednesday awarded a death sentence to a 23-year-old man convicted in the rape-cum-murder of a one-year-and-nine-month- old girl on February 27.

Sources in the Surat district court said that this is the first capital punishment announced by Judge Shakuntalaben Solanki of Special POCSO Court and the ninth in a Surat court in a rape-cum-murder on minor girl case since 2019.

The judge also ordered the convict Yusuf Hajat, 23, a resident of the Sachin area, to pay a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the parents of the child.

The court on July 31 convicted Hajat of the crime.

District government pleader Nayan Sukhadwala on July 31 requested judge to give capital punishment to the convict, considering the case as the rarest of the rare cases. He also argued that the reason to award capital punishment is that the victim was 1.9 years old and she was helpless and could not defend herself from the accused who is 23 years old.

Sukhadwala also had requested the judge for solitary confinement under IPC Act Section 73, in which the convict should be kept in a room without any other inmates for certain period before he is hanged, so that he can repent on the crime he had committed.

Hajat was brought to the court on Wednesday under strict police security while his family members, including his youngest sister and mother, remained present. The parents of the toddler were also present when the death sentence was awarded.

Government pleader Sukhadwala expressed satisfaction over the court verdict. “This order will set an example in society and people will think twice before committing such acts of crime. The phone of the accused recovered by the police contained several obscene materials and even he downloaded a video of how to kill a minor,” Sukhadwala said.

The judge pronounced the order stating that on the basis of the statements of witnesses and evidence and arguments from prosecution and defence, Hajat has been convicted and was awarded capital punishment of hanged till death under IPC Act., sections 376 (a,b), 376 (2)(j)(l)(m), and POCSO Act section 5(i)(k)(m),

After the order was read, tears rolled out in the eyes of convict’s mother and sister.

According to the police, on February 27 evening Yusuf Hajat alias Ismail took away the child after telling her parents that he will buy her a wafer packet and return her back. Hajat took her to a secluded place on the outskirts of the village where he raped her and later strangulated her to death. When the girl failed to return till night, her parents found Hajat was missing as well.

The family members along with other villagers carried out a search for the girl, but in vain. Hajat was arrested the next day based on the complaint of the parents. The accused was under police remand till March 3 and was later sent to judicial custody at Surat Central jail.

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The order stated, “Under mitigating and aggravating circumstances, this case is been termed as rarest of rare case. The life imprisonment term of punishment is not sufficient.”

The police had produced 78 witnesses and over 16 documentary pieces of evidence and submitted a chargesheet in the case.

Over repeated attempts the legal aid defense council lawyer A N Pancholi did not respond.

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