Death sentence within 23 days for man accused of raping, killing child


NATIONAL | May 13, 2018:

The conviction of Navik Gadke for the rape and murder of a three-month-old baby within 23 days of the crime being committed shows that a concerted effort by the police, local administration and the courts can deliver quick justice.

Although India has over 400 fast-track courts, disposal of cases by most of them is slow. Less than 10% of the cases are disposed of within a year of an alleged sexual assault, according to the National Crime Records Bureau report of 2016, which also shows that on average, a rape case takes two to three years for reaching a conclusion.

In the Indore case, the police, administration and the local court moved quickly in the face of public outrage over the infant's rape and murder. Gadke, 25, was given the death penalty by the court on Saturday.

Within hours of the murder, the police set up a special investigating team under inspector Shivpal Singh Kushwaha and district collector Nishant Warwade appointed prosecutor Mohammad Akram Sheikh to fight the case. Both the police and administration decided that they would take the case to a fast-track court for a speedy trial and judgment.

"It was a major challenge for us and we worked often 20 hours a day tying up the loose ends of the case. Usually we are supposed to submit the challan within 120 days, but we decided that we will do it as quickly as possible without compromising on the quality of the investigation. We completed the investigation within six days and presented the challan on the seventh day," said Indore deputy inspector general Harinarayan Chari Mishra.

Inspector Kushwaha, who led the investigation, said within hours of the start of the probe, the police were sure that Gadke was the rapist-murderer, but the difficult task was to find evidence to nail him. "We had to place him in that area that night after midnight as the murder was done after 2am. We got hold of all the CCTV footage kept outside the shops in the area and soon we found him going in his bicycle inside the building where the body of the victim was found. We found another footage where he was seen on his cycle, but now without the child. We got GPS location and timing of these footages and presented them in a scientific manner before the court," inspector Kushwaha said. The police also collected other evidence like the bicycle he travelled on,his bloodstained clothes and DNA test results.

"The main challenge was getting the DNA samples tested from the forensic laboratory in Sagar and to see whether the victim's blood samples with the blood found on the accused man's clothes and other body parts, matched or not. Usually it takes months before a DNA test result in given, but we put a lot of pressure through senior officers and managed to get it within a week," said an official who did not want to be named. The DIG said, "We made a foolproof case based on scientific evidence as there was no actual witness to the murder, and got the verdict we wanted."

Public prosecutor Sheikh said the police and prosecution worked closely every day during the course of the trial. "The court too was very cooperative and the judge heard the case for four to five hours every day. It is for this reason that the statements of all 29 prosecution witnesses were recorded within 11 days, a record of sorts. We missed getting benefit of the ordinance of April 21 by a day, but we got the best possible verdict." The district prosecutor was referring to an ordinance passed by the government allowing death sentence for those who rape a girl aged less than 12 years.

MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan welcomed the verdict. "Such predators do not have the right to live. I'm saddened by the loss of our daughter but satisfied that justice has been done," he said.

Source: The Hindustan Times

Featured image: Representation