A local court on Friday sentenced 28-year-old Anil Kumar to life imprisonment on charges of rape and murder of 16-year-old Gudiya in July, 2017. District and Sessions Judge Rajiv Bharadwaj, who is also Special Judge of CBI Court, pronounced the sentence in the four year old case, that had sparked protest across the hill state, demanding justice for the minor girl.
Earlier on April 28, the court had convicted Anil Kumar alias Nillu alias Charani of rape under Sections 376 (2)(i) and 376 (A), murder under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 4 (punishment for penetrative sexual assault) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
Nillu, a woodcutter, was convicted on the basis of the fact that the DNA from his blood sample matched with the semen on the private parts and clothes of the victim and soil sample from his clothes matched the soil sample taken from the spot from where Gudiya’s body was recovered. Further, the forensic investigations revealed that the bite marks on the body of the deceased were also Nilu’s.
The judge observed that the crime was committed in a spur of the moment, with Nilu making up his mind to rape and kill the victim when he encountered her on a passage in the forest while she was returning home from school, according to The Tribune.
About the Gudiya Rape Case:
A Class 10 student from Shimla’s Kotkhai town left school on the afternoon of July 4, 2017, but never returned home. Her brother and other schoolmates who typically accompanied her to her house stayed back due to a school sports tournament, so she opted to go to her house alone — a 1.5-hour excursion that entailed passing through a forest.
Her body was discovered two days later in a forest ditch, with her clothes, an empty wine bottle, and other objects scattered about her. Her death was caused by the cumulative effect of “homicidal smothering and manual strangulation in a case of recent forcible penetrative sexual assault," according to an autopsy.
A week after the incident, a special investigation team of the Himachal Pradesh police headed by IG Zahur H Zaidi arrested six people on charges of raping and killing the minor. On the night of July 18 and 19, one of the accused, Suraj Singh, a 29-year-old Nepalese labourer, died while being interrogated at the Kotkhai police station. He was allegedly slain by one of his co-accused, according to the police.
The death in custody further fueled the ongoing public protests and concerns about an unfair inquiry were raised. The next day Kotkhai police station was set on fire, and police vehicles were vandalised. The Himachal Pradesh High Court directed the CBI to take over the case the same day.
CBI Chargesheet in Gudiya Rape Case:
The CBI investigation found that on the day of the crime, Nillu drank alcohol in the afternoon and ran into the victim on a secluded route on her way home, the Indian Express reported. According to the CBI’s chargesheet, he first had an argument with her, after which he grabbed her and pulled her into the nearby forest, where he raped, choked, and strangled her.
As per the CBI probe, he left an empty liquor bottle at the crime scene, which the vendor recognised. He was also identified by several people who saw him in the neighbourhood before and after the incident or sold him liquor on the day of the crime.
A widow whom he reportedly sexually assaulted a day and a half after the murder is among the other witnesses. According to the chargesheet, he reportedly attempted to take someone’s clothes and molested another woman before fleeing the region a few days later. Around 55 prosecution witnesses testified in a special court in Shimla throughout the trial.