Five gang-rape accused sentenced to life term

A local court in Odisha has sentenced five persons accused of gang-raping a minor girl, to rigorous life imprisonment within one month of occurrence of the heinous crime.

The second additional district and session judge- cum-presiding officer of a children court, Sambalpur, Udayabhanu Jena held a marathon hearing of the case that began at 7.30 a.m. on Saturday morning and continued for 14 hours till late evening.

Afzal Raja, Tinu Sahu Hadu Panchba, Ashirbad Behera and Abhilash Panchbha were found guilty and the judge handed out life imprisonment, convicting them under section 376 (2)- (i) of Indian Penal Code and under section 4 and 6 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. The court also slapped fine of Rs. 50,000 on all accused.

Committed suicide

The incident had taken place in Sambalpur on May 2 when the 14-year-old girl was sexually assaulted by the five accused at different places. The victim had committed suicide by hanging herself on May 23 as she could not bear the societal pressure.

From police investigation to recording of statement of the victim and from submission of chargesheet to hearing in court, the case moved at a swift pace. On May 3, a day after the occurrence of crime, the Sambalpur police had arrested the accused. The trial of the case, which had triggered massive outrage, had begun on May 28. Altogether 21 witnesses were cross-examined.