In the shocking 2008 Kandhamal nun rape case, Cuttack district sessions judge Gyanaranjan Purohit on Friday convicted the prime accused Mitu Patnaik (32) of charge of gang rape and sentenced him to undergo rigorous imprisonment for 11 years.

The court held two others, Gajendra Digal and Saroj Badhei, guilty of outraging the modesty of the victim, obscene act and criminal intimidation. It acquitted six others, saying there was no substantial evidence against them. Digal and Badhei were sentenced to undergo RI for two years.

Court relied on communal harmony in region

Cuttack district sessions judge Gyanaranjan Purohit, who on Friday sentenced key accused Mitu Patnaik in the 2008 Kandhamal nun rape case to rigorous imprisonment for 11 years, relied heavily on communal harmony in the locality, which was disrupted for a brief period after the murder of Hindu seer Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati.

But taking into the consideration the circumstances in which the nun was gang-raped in the presence of a mob, the court felt that Patnaik did not deserve lenient sentence.

Gajendra Digal and Saroj Badhei were held guilty of outraging the modesty of the victim, obscene act and criminal intimidation.

Digal and Badhei were sentenced to undergo RI for two years.

While Digal has already been an under-trial prisoner for over four years and his sentence is likely to be set off, Badhei, who was behind bars for over a year, may go back to jail to serve the remaining period.

However, the court later granted bail to both Digal and Badhei till the period the convicted persons prefer an appeal in the Orissa High Court.

The 25-year-old nun said she was raped on August 25, 2008 after a mob ransacked and attacked the local pastoral centre following the murder of the seer the day before.