SC stays death penalty of man in child rape and murder case

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has stayed the death penalty imposed on a man convicted for rape and murder of a three-month-old girl.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and also comprising Justices S Abdul Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna on Thursday stayed the capital punishment given to the 25-year-old man who kidnapped, raped and then killed the child.

“There shall be a stay of execution of death sentence of the petitioner,” the bench said in its order.

In May 2018, a fast-track court in Indore awarded death sentence to Naveen alias Ajay Gadke, within 23 days of the crime, following which Gadke filed an appeal against the verdict before the Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.

The high court bench comprising Justices P K Jaiswal and S K Awasthi confirmed his conviction and sentence.

Gadke was sentenced to death under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 302 (murder) and 376A (raping a minor). He was also convicted under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

He later approached the apex court against the judgment of the high court.

The incident took place on the intervening night of April 19 and 20, 2018 when Gadke, a relative of the victim, picked up the child while she was sleeping with her mother on the pavement near Rajwada in Indore.

As per the police, he took the child on a bicycle to the basement of a nearby commercial building and raped her.

When she started crying, he banged her head repeatedly which resulted in her death.

The incident came to the fore when a CCTV footage was accessed by the police following a missing report filed by the parents of the child. He was arrested the same day.