Judge of the Mahila Court M.P. Subramanian on Monday convicted Manoharan, the second accused in the abduction, rape and murder of a ten-year-old girl and murder of her seven-year-old brother.
Delivering the verdict exactly on the second anniversary of the abduction and murder of the children, the Judge said the accused was found guilty of the charges of conspiracy, abduction, rape, murder and concealment of evidence.
A girl and her brother, children of a textile merchant in Coimbatore were abducted by a call taxi driver. The girl was raped and the boy tortured before drowning them to death in the PAP canal on October 29. Mohan alias Mohanraj alias Mohanakrishnan (27) and his friend Manoharan of Angalakurichi near Pollachi were arrested in two days and the bodies recovered. The first accused was shot dead by the police on November 9, 2010 while in transit to the scene of crime. Police said he was shot dead because he attempted to hijack the police vehicle and escape after assaulting the personnel on escort duty. Hence, the charges against the first accused abate.
In a packed court hall on Monday, the Judge listed the charges and said that Manoharan, the second accused is found guilty of all charges including murder (two counts) i.e., of the girl and her brother. When asked, whether, he had anything to say on the sentence, Manoharan only shook his head to indicate that he had nothing to say.
Defence counsel A. Sharmila said the court should hear her plea on sentence. Special Public Prosecutor U. Sankaranarayanan, quoting Supreme Court rulings for precedents, said that even the prosecution should be heard, even if there were no provisions in the Criminal Procedure Code.
Agreeing to hear both sides on their arguments relating to the sentence at 1 p.m., the Judge posted the pronouncement of sentence to November 1.
In the afternoon, U. Sankaranarayan sought death sentence by listing seven judgments by Supreme Court and High Courts of which six related to sexual abuse of minor girl children. Inadequate sentence would be detrimental to society, he argued.
Mr. Sankaranarayanan said the accused won the confidence of the children by luring them and the pain and agony that they would have gone through prior to the death was beyond imagination. To show mercy on such accused would be a travesty of justice and considering his plea for mercy would only mean misplaced sympathy.
Stating that crime against women was on the rise, Mr. Sankaranarayanan said gross inadequate punishment would mean injustice not just to the victims but also to the society in particular. Courts have an obligation to heed to society’s cry for justice in the case of cruel crimes. The court should look at the rights of the victims and society rather than just looking at the rights of the criminals, he said.
Public abhorrence should stand reflected in the verdict in the measure of punishment awarded. Mr. Sankaranayan said that there were no justifiable or mitigating grounds for the accused especially in a crime against helpless and defenceless children.
According to him, the offence was a barbaric, inhuman act of the highest order and extremely brutal that shook the collective conscience of society. Stating that a life sentence awarded in a similar case was enhanced to capital sentence by the Supreme Court, Mr. Sankaranarayan said any lenience shown to the accused would be a mockery of the criminal justice dispensation system.
Defence counsel A. Sharmila sought time to counter the submissions of the prosecution. The court asked her to present the rulings in the past in such cases on Tuesday and to place her arguments either on the same day or on Wednesday. The sentence is to be pronounced on Thursday.
Talking to reporters, Ms. Sharmila said that the accused was only present with the first accused initially. He was neither a party to the crime nor present at the time of rape or murder. Contending that he had been falsely implicated in the case, defence counsel said appeal would be preferred before the Madras High Court.
October 29, 2010 – Siblings, ten-year-old girl and seven-year-old brother abducted. Girl raped, boy tortured and drowned in PAP canal
October 29, 2010 – Police arrest Mohan alias Mohanraj alias Mohanakrishnan, a call taxi driver
October 29, 2010 – Body of girl recovered from PAP canal at Vavipalayam in Palladam taluk
October 30, 2010 - Boy’s body recovered from the PAP canal at Kedimedu near Pollachi
October 31, 2010 - Manoharan, accomplice of Mohanakrishnan arrested
October 30, 2010 - Police register cases against both under sections 120 B (Conspiracy), 364 A (abduction), 376 (2) (f and g) – (gang rape of a girl less than 12 years of age), 302 (murder) and 201 (concealment of evidence) of Indian Penal Code.
November 8, 2010 – Police take custody of both the accused for interrogation
November 9, 2010 - Mohanakrishnan shot dead by the police after he reportedly attempted to escape from police escort after assaulting police personnel.
December 10, 2010 - Prosecution files a charge sheet running to over hundred pages, besides listing 47 prosecution witnesses, 69 documents and 38 material objects.
February 18, 2011 – Case committed from court of original jurisdiction to court of appropriate jurisdiction i.e., Mahila court
June 23, 2011 – Trial commences in the case against the second accused, as charges against the first accused abate
October 25, 2011 - State Home Department appoints retired Deputy Director of Prosecution U. Sankaranarayan as Special Public Prosecutor
After Coimbatore Lawyers decided not to appear for the accused in a case of “heinous crime”, to ensure that the accused shall not go undefended, the District Legal Services Authority appointed a state brief counsel.
But citing personal reasons, four defence counsels withdrew from the case namely Irudayaraj, S. Rajendran, Kalaiselvan and Vadivelu and the fifth and last State brief counsel for the accused was A. Sharmila.
A petition by the defence for Denovo trial (a complete re-trial) was rejected by the court as the Criminal Procedure Code had provision for re-trial only in the event of a new accused, a new charge or new evidence being brought into the case.
Court however conceded the demand for recall of a handful of witnesses. After all this process, case came up for verdict on Monday which happened to be the second death anniversary of the siblings.
October 29, 2012 - Court finds the second accused guilty of all the charges, prosecutions submits arguments on sentence