Pune court finds three accused found guilty in the kidnapping, gangrape and murder of software engineer Nayana Pujari

Pune court finds three accused found guilty in the kidnapping, gangrape and murder of software engineer Nayana Pujari

PUNE,May9: A sessions court here on Monday held the three accused guilty in the kidnapping, gangrape and murder of software engineer Nayana Pujari in October 2009. The court let off the fourth accused-turned-approver in the case.

Additional sessions judge L L Yenkar will pronounce the quantum of punishment at 11am on Tuesday after hearing the prosecution and defence lawyers on the point of sentence.

Judge Yenkar found the three convicts, Yogesh Raut, Mahesh Thakur and Vishwas Kadam, guilty on six counts viz. offences punishable under Section 366 (kidnapping of woman), 376 (2) (G), which refers to gangrape, 397 (robbery with intent to cause murder or grievous hurt), 302 (murder), 404 (misappropriation of property of deceased) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The maximum sentence the three convicts can attract on these counts is a death penalty or life in prison.

The court, however, held that the prosecution could not prove charges punishable under Sections 364 (kidnapping), 394 (voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of crime).

Pujari, who worked with a software company in Kharadi, was kidnapped on the evening of October 7, 2009 from Kharadi-Mundhwa bypass while she was waiting for transport to return back home from work. Two days later, her badly mutiliated body was found in the Zarewadi forests in Khed taluka.

 In the investigations that followed, the police arrested Raut, Thakur, Kadam and fourth accused Rajesh Chaudhari, who was later granted pardon by a court for turning an approver and recording his confessional statement before a magistrate. Chaudhari was not part of the kidnapping and murder acts.

Special public prosecutor Harshad Nimbalkar said; “This is a fit case falling under the rarest of rare case concept and we will press for death penalty for all tje three convicts tomorrow. More so, considering the brutal manner in which the victim was gangraped and killed.”

Defence counsel Biju Aloor said, “The prosecution could not prove three offences despite the conviction for other charges. The mitigating circumstances are in our favour and we will press for a lesser sentence.”
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