A fast track court in Thrissur, Kerala, on Friday awarded death sentence to a man from Tamil Nadu for raping and murdering a 23-year-old woman, whom he pushed out of a running train in February.
Pronouncing the sentence, Judge Raveendra Babu said 30-year-old Govindachamy had committed the offences in a "diabolic manner" and did not deserve any leniency.
The victim was raped in a "brutal" and "cruel" manner, the judge said while awarding the death sentence and imposing Rs one lakh fine on him, besides sentencing the accused to varying terms of rigorous imprisonment under different sections of the IPC.
On October 31, the court had found Govindachamy guilty of offences under IPC sections 302 (murder), 376 (rape), 394 (person voluntarily causing hurt in committing or attempting to commit robbery), 397 (robbery or dacoity, with attempt to cause death or grievous hurt) and 447 (criminal trespass).
According to the prosecution, Govindachamy had assaulted the Soumya in a deserted ladies compartment and pushed her out of the train, immediately after it left Vallathol Nagar station on February 1. He then carried her to a deserted spot on the rail tracks and raped her "cruelly and brutally".
The accused had also injured her seriously resulting in her death on February 6.
Pressing for maximum punishment, prosecution had submitted that the accused was a "habitual offender" and produced documentary evidence to show that he had been convicted in eight cases in Tamil Nadu from 2004 to 2008.
Welcoming the verdict, Kerala Chief Minister Oomen Chandy told rediff.com: "It is a good verdict. I have announced special awards to the advocates and the dedicated police officials who worked on the case."
State Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Minister P K Jayalakshmi said: "The fast track court has given the verdict the Govindachamy, the accused, deserves. Kerala society should be aware of such persons, who had shown no mercy to a hapless woman."
Reacting to the fast-track court's verdict, Soumya's mother Sumathy and her brother Santhosh thanked the advocates and the policemen and hoped that such an incident should never happen to any girl in the state again.
Dr Unmesh, who had tampered with the forensic evidence from the body of Soumya and who had leaked the report to the media, was suspended by state Health Minister Adoor Prakash after the verdict.