“It is a gruesome murder committed mercilessly, which can be done only by a beast”

The Madras High Court on Tuesday confirmed the death sentence awarded to a man who had raped and murdered a nine-year-old girl and later dumped her body in a canal. “It is a gruesome murder committed mercilessly, which can be done only by a beast. Under such circumstances it is a fit case for death sentence,” a Division Bench, comprising Justices M. Chockalingam and M. Sathyanarayanan, said, upholding the lower court order.

The incident took place on February 12, 2009. The first Additional Sessions Court in Salem had awarded death sentence to Selvam of Chettikadu village in Salem on March 12, 2010.

Selvam was the girl's neighbour. Taking advantage of her parents' absence, who had gone on padayatra, he took the girl to his house and committed the crime.

During the trial a prosecution witness told the court that Selvam used to torture his wife and kept her sister with him. His family members had deserted him and gone away to Chennai.

While awarding the death sentence the Additional Sessions court had said, “Selvam is leading an immoral life and often calls women for sex.”

Rejecting his plea for reducing the sentence of the Sessions Court, the Bench said that the prosecution, without an iota of doubt, had proved the guilt of the accused. He took the victim to his house, committed rape, stole her ear rings, committed murder and, thereafter, put the body in a gunny bag and placed it in a canal.

“Thus, all the charges against him (Selvam) regarding the theft, rape, murder and also screening of the evidence stood proved. Hence, the findings of the trial Judge have got to be affirmed.”

The Bench said the act of Selvam fell under the category of rarest of rare cases. “In a gruesome case like this sufficient punishment has to be awarded and showing leniency will be a mockery of criminal jurisprudence. Under such circumstances, all the factual contents put forth by the accused for reducing the punishment cannot be accepted by the court.”