A court in Kochi on Thursday awarded the death sentence to Ameerul Islam, the lone convict found guilty in the rape and murder case of a 30-year old Dalit law student in Kerala last year.
Ernakulam Principal Sessions court judge N Anil Kumar awarded the death penalty to Islam, a migrant labourer from Assam, for committing murder of the law student at nearby Perumbavoor.
Islam has been awarded life imprisonment for committing the rape of the woman after he was also found guilty under Indian Penal Code Section 376 (A) (causing death or causes the woman to be in persistent vegetative state while committing rape).
The court had on Wednesday heard the versions of defence and prosecution in awarding the quantum of punishment in the case.
The defence counsel had on Wednesday moved an application seeking a fair probe, arguing that Islam, who only understands his mother tongue Assamese, was not given a fair treatment by the Kerala Police, which probed the case.
The court, however, had rejected the application, saying that the one submitted by the accused for further investigation was not in accordance with law.
The prosecution narrated the brutal manner in which the 30-year old law student was raped and murdered, and argued that it was a rarest of the rare case.
They had argued that a death sentence should be awarded to the convict, who, they said was a pervert.
The diabolic and barbaric manner in which the crime was committed on the unarmed woman was almost like that committed on Nirbhaya, victim of the gang rape and fatal assault in New Delhi in 2012, it had said.
Islam’s counsel had said he was not guilty and that the police had framed him in the case.
Referring to various judgments by the Supreme Court and high courts, he had argued there was no eyewitness to the crime and the death penalty cannot be awarded merely on the basis of circumstantial evidence.
Islam was found guilty by the court on Tuesday under various sections of the IPC, including 449 (house trespass in order to commit offence punishable with death), 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement), 302 (murder), 376 (rape) 376 (A) (causing death or causes the woman to be in persistent vegetative state while committing rape).
The Special Investigation Team probing the case had used DNA technology and verification of call record details to prove Islam’s involvement in the crime.
The court had on December 6 completed hearing in the case and posted for Thursday the pronouncement of the quantum of punishment.
Islam was charged with raping and murdering the woman at Perumbavoor on April 28, 2016.
He was booked under various sections of IPC and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules.
As many as 100 witnesses were examined during the trial, which commenced in April last.
The woman, who hailed from a poor family, was brutally assaulted using sharp-edged weapons before being murdered at her house.
Islam, who had left Perumbavoor soon after committing the crime, was arrested from Kancheepuram in neighbouring Tamil Nadu, 50 days after the gruesome incident.
More than 100 police personnel questioned over 1,500 people in the case.
Fingerprints of over 5,000 people were also examined by the SIT personnel, who went through over 20 lakh telephonic conversations before reaching Islam.