01 February 2023 :
The Calcutta High Court on 31 January 2023 commuted the death sentence of two persons, convicted of abduction, rape, and murder of a minor girl at Balagarh in West Bengal's Hooghly district to imprisonment for life without remission till the end of their natural life.
The court observed that the state has failed to place any material to establish that the appellants cannot be reformed and are beyond scope of rehabilitation.
A division bench comprising justices Debangsu Basak and Md Shabbar Rashidi ordered the commutation of their death sentence awarded by a sessions court in the district capital of Chinsurah in January 2020, to a life term.
"Keeping in view the brutality of the offence committed, it would be appropriate that, the appellants be sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of remission till the end of their natural life," the bench said in its judgment.
It was hearing a mandatory death reference for confirmation of the sessions court's order that awarded the death penalty to the two - Gourab Mondal and Kaushik Malik, and also an appeal by them.
A third accused, who was 17 years old at the time of the commission of offence in December 2014, was tried before a juvenile court.
The three had abducted the class VI student when she was heading for a private tuition class from her home in Balagarh on the evening of 12 December 2014.
After a futile search by her parents that night, they received a ransom call from the culprits for Rs 30 lakhs, which they said they were unable to pay to owe to their financial condition.
The police tracked down and arrested the trio from the location of the phone from which the ransom call was made.
As per records, they admitted to abducting the girl, killing her, and burying her body beside River Hooghly at Jirat, which is near Balagarh, after raping her and then chopping off her legs.