Four months after a Swiss woman was robbed and gangraped, a fast-track court in Datia district of Madhya Pradesh on Saturday awarded life imprisonment to all the six convicts in the sensational case.
Additional District Judge Jitendra Sharma also imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on each of the convicts directed that Rs 50,000 be paid to the victim from it.
While five convicts Baba, Bhutha, Rampro, Gaza alias Brajesh and Vishnu Kanjar were handed down life term for rape, the sixth accused Nitin (Rishi) Kanjar was given life imprisonment on the charge of dacoity, said DIG (Chambal Range) D K Arya.
"It was the result of flawless investigation," Inspector General (IG) Chambal Range S M Afzal said expressing satisfaction over the judgement.
The 39-year-old Swiss woman, on a cycling trip along with her companion, was gangraped at a forest area near Sewda road in Datia district on March 15 where they had camped for the night while proceeding to Agra.
The sentence was prescribed under sections 376 (rape), 395 (punishment for dacoity) of the IPC, sections 12 and 14 of the Anti-Dacoity Act and under Arms Act.
"The complicity of the sixth accused in the crime was established on the basis of his involvement in dacoity and therefore the court awarded life-imprisonment to him," Afzal said.
Rishi was held guilty under section 395 (punishment for dacoity) of the IPC and sections 12 and 14 of the Anti-Dacoity Act. The court also awarded additional imprisonment of three years to Rampro under the Arms Act, which will run concurrently.
All the convicts are residents of Kanjar Tola settlement in Jharia village, located about 2 kms from the spot where the victim was raped.
The incident had come just three months after the December 16 brutal gangrape of a 23-year-old para medical student in the national capital, which had sparked national outrage.
It raised a question mark on the safety of foreign women tourists travelling in teh country and Britain had reacted by issuing a travel advisory for its women nationals visiting India.
Datia police had filed a chargesheet on March 26 without conducting any test identification parade (TIP) of the accused and the trial started on March 30.
The DIG said that recording statement of the victim was a major challenge for the prosecution as she had gone back to Switzerland after filing the complaint. He said that DGP Nandan Dube and IG (Chambal Range) S M Afzal spoke to the Swiss Ambassador and convinced the authorities to ensure the victim's presence in the court.
Later, her statements were recorded via video-conferencing by a special commission headed by the metropolitan magistrate of Patiala House Court, Akash Jain on May 25.
The Commission recorded her statement in the Swiss Embassy in Delhi while the accused were present at Datia collectorate's National Informatic Centre (NIC) chamber. Madhya Pradesh government had sanctioned Rs 8.5 lakh towards travel cost of the victim.