"Rape accused shows no remorse, and are incorrigible"

A local court on Tuesday awarded the death sentence to two persons for the rape and murder of a BPO employee in 2007. The accused, cab driver Purshottam Borate and his friend Pradeep Kokate, committed the act in “extreme brutality,” the court observed, while delivering the verdict.

Principal District Judge Anant Badar stated that the duo had conspired and executed the plan to rape the 22-year-old woman.

The driver, Borate, picked up Jyotikumari for her regular night shift at the Wipro BPO, but instead drove her to a secluded spot while she was engaged in a phone conversation and, along with his friend Kokate, raped her. The body was found in Gahunje village the next day.

Shock to the nation

The incident, which occurred on November 1, 2007, had shocked the country, bringing into focus the security of women working in call centres, at a time when the BPO industry was in its nascent stages.

Stating that the case had had an impact on society, Judge Badar said the safety and security of working women had been jeopardised due to the incident.

The court held both the accused guilty under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 302 (murder), 376 (2)(g) (gangrape), 364 (abduction) and 120 (b)(criminal conspiracy).

Ms. Jyotikumari, who hailed from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, was a Science Graduate from the University of Pune. The case had prompted various IT establishments to review safety of their transport systems.

Well planned

Mr. Badar said the duo had betrayed the trust of Jyotikumari as well as that of her employers. He said the crime was well planned as the duo knew that it was Jyotikumari's last day of work at the BPO.

‘Heinous'

Calling it the ‘rarest of rare cases' that deserved no other punishment but that of the death sentence, Mr. Badar said that considering the act was so heinous, the age of the accused could not be a criterion to award a lesser punishment.

Mr. Badar said that according to the survey conducted by Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) titled ‘Night Shift for women: Growth and opportunities,' the case challenged the very faith of family members that the employers would take care of the safety and security of women working in night shifts.

Aggravating circumstances

On Monday, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam argued for the death sentence, stating that all the aggravating circumstances were present in the case.

The duo had slit her right wrist, smashed her head with a stone and then strangulated her with her duppatta (scarf), which clearly showed their “beastly tendencies,” Mr. Nikam said.

He added that the accused had shown no remorse after committing the crime, and were “incorrigible” with no scope for reform.

Defence lawyer Atul Patil stated that the police had “made up the evidence” in the case, and stated that the accused would challenge the death sentence in the Bombay High Court.