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Death Penalty of Pune BPO Gang Rape and Murder Case Convicts Commuted to Life

A file image of Bombay High Court.

A file image of Bombay High Court.

The convicts, Purushottam Borate and Pradeep Kokade, were to be executed on June 24, but the high court had said on June 21 that the execution should not take place as scheduled until further orders.

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Radhika Ramaswamy

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Monday commuted the death penalty of two convicts in the 2007 Pune BPO gang-rape and murder case to life imprisonment on the ground that there had been an inordinate delay in executing them.

The convicts, 38-year-old Purushottam Borate and 32-year-old Pradeep Kokade, were to be executed on June 24, but the high court bench of Justices B P Dharmadhikari and Swapna Joshi had said on June 21 that the execution should not take place as scheduled until further orders.

The division bench allowed the petitions filed by the convicts seeking a stay on the execution of their death warrant. "Their sentences are commuted," the court said.

The lawyer for the convicts, Yug Chaudhary, told reporters the court had said in the judgement that the duo should be in prison for a period of 35 years after taking into account the time already spent and remission.

The two were convicted and awarded the death penalty by a trial court in 2012 for kidnapping, raping and murdering a BPO employee in Pune in 2007.

In the petitions filed in May, the duo sought a stay on the ground that there had been inordinate delay in deciding their mercy petitions by the Maharashtra governor and the President, and also in issuance of the warrants for execution of the death penalty.

The counsel for the petitioners had told the court that even after the SC verdict, there was a four year delay in executing the sentence and the delay has caused trauma and mental agony among the convicts. "Excessive and unexplained delay of over four years (1509 days) in execution of the sentence of death causes unnecessary and unavoidable pain, suffering and mental torment that constitutes cruel and unusual punishment that is in violation of Article 21 (Right to Life)," they said.

They also sought for the death penalty to be commuted to life imprisonment.

The victim, a 22-year-old BPO employee at a multinational company was raped by cab driver Borate and his accomplice Kokade on November 1, 2007. The victim had boarded the cab which was contracted by her company to report for her night shift. However, the driver changed the route midway, took her to a desolate place where she was raped and then strangulated to death. The accused disfigured her face with a sharp weapon to keep her identity concealed.


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