A court in Maharashtra has sentenced a man to death for raping and murdering a five year-old girl in 2016, observing that the crime was "more cruel" than the act of the most dreaded animal.
The child was raped in a village in Maharashtra's Parbhani, located around 500 km from Mumbai. Her body was found in a well three days later.
According to the prosecution, the accused kidnapped the child from outside her house, raped her and then strangled her with a nylon rope. He wrapped her body in a gunny bag and threw it into the well.
While there was no direct evidence, the prosecution relied on circumstantial evidence to prove its case. They examined 23 witnesses, including the child's grandfather.
Additional Public Prosecutor SD Wakodkar told the court that the case was proved beyond all reasonable doubt, and sought death sentence for the accused.
"This falls under the ambit of the 'rarest of rare' case. It is a case of aggravated penetrative sexual assault on the minor girl and killing her," he told the court while asking for capital punishment.
"The act is more cruel than that of the most dreaded animal who kills for hunger or in self-defence only," the judge said.
The court further observed that the mentality of the accused reflected that he derived "satanic pleasure" by committing the crime.