He has breached fiduciary relationship with inmates to satisfy his lust: Mumbai court

The Mumbai Sessions Court on Thursday slapped the death penalty on Ramchandra Karanjule, founder of Kalyani Mahila Bal Seva Sanstha at Kalamboli in Navi Mumbai, for murdering an inmate of the orphanage.

 On Wednesday, the court convicted six persons including the founder, the caretaker and trustees of the orphanage of sexually abusing 19 handicapped and mentally-challenged minor girls, and acquitted four others.

 It was alleged that Mr. Karanjule along with the other accused had been abusing the mentally challenged girls since 2007 till 2011when the case was registered. According to the prosecution, he not only raped the girls who were under his care but also neglected to protect them from the others.

 The court said Mr. Karanjule “has not only exploited the vulnerable, defenceless, physically disabled girls but also exploited the emotions of the donors. While holding a quasi-parental position, the accused has in fact breached the trust and fiduciary relationship with the inmates to satisfy his insatiable lust.”

 It was also observed that by dumping 19 girls in a 250-square foot, shop like enclosure, which had no doors but only a rolling shutter, they were deprived of basic human rights such as health and education. “It is a case of custodial torture, custodial rape and custodial murder,” said the court.

 A routine visit by a panel, set up by the Bombay High Court in 2011 to coordinate the functioning of state orphanages, brought to light the offences in Kalyani Mahila Bal Seva Sanstha. The orphanage had seen the death of five girls in three years but no report was submitted to the Child Welfare Committee or any other government authority, the court said.

One of the girls, who Mr. Karanjule has been accused of murdering, died after being denied medical help despite her having been ill for three months. Apart from being sexually abused, the girls were beaten up and they had cigarette burn marks on their bodies. They were forcibly made to consume alcohol, it was observed.

 The court found Khandu Kasbe alias Deepak Mayekar, a friend of the founder; and Prakash Khadke, office-bearer of the orphanage, guilty of rape and awarded them life imprisonment.

Nanabhau, nephew of Mr. Karanjule, convicted of molesting the girls by using force, has been sentenced two years’ imprisonment. Sonali Badade, an office-bearer, and Parvati Malve, caretaker of the girls, were convicted of aiding and abetting in the crime committed by Mr. Karanjule and his other partners in crime. The two women have been given rigorous imprisonment for seven and five years respectively.