The Bombay high court on Wednesday upheld the conviction of two persons accused of kidnapping, raping and murdering a 22-year-old BPO employee in Pune in 2007.
The accused -- Purushottam Borate and Pradeep Kokade -- were awarded the death penalty in March this year by a sessions court in Pune.
A division bench of Justices V M Kanade and P D Kode on Wednesday said it was confirming the conviction of the two accused but would pass an order on their sentence on Thursday.
"We are confirming the conviction. The trial court has not erred in convicting the two. But on sentencing, we would like to hear more arguments from both the defence and prosecution lawyers regarding mitigating circumstances and so on," Justice Kanade said.
The duo were convicted under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 364 (kidnapping), 376 (rape) and 302 (murder) among other sections of the Indian Penal Code.
While the prosecution had sought severe punishment of death for the two arguing that there is no chance of reformation, defence lawyers had sought clemency on the ground that the duo had no prior criminal record.
Public Prosecutor Revati Dhere had argued that the incident was pre-planned and pre-mediated by the two accused, who knew that it was the victim's last day in Wipro.
"They had prior knowledge. They conspired to carry out the abduction, rape and murder in advance," she argued.
According to the prosecution, the victim, a Wipro BPO employee working at the Hinjewadi IT Park in Pune, had on November 1, 2007 boarded the regular cab contracted by the company to ply the employees to report for night duty.
The cab driver, Borate, was accompanied by his friend Kokade. But he changed the route and took the victim to a remote place, where she was raped by both of them.
The duo then strangled her to death using her 'dupatta' and disfigured her face, inflicting injuries with a sharp weapon to hide her identity. The body was recovered the next day, following which the two were arrested.
The sessions court had, while awarding the death penalty to the two accused, held that even after the commission of the crime the accused did not show any remorse and went about their everyday work.
"They took the helpless victim to a secluded place and raped her turn by turn. The accused were not under duress or domination of any other person and their acts were just for satisfying their lust," the lower court had said in its judgment.
The victim, who hailed from Uttar Pradesh, was a science graduate from the University of Pune. She had joined Wipro as an associate in December 2006 and was staying with her sister and brother-in-law in Panchvati area of Pashan.