Man sentenced to 20 years in prison for raping 5-year-old girl

In a significant legal development, a court in Maharashtra’s Thane district has handed down a 20-year prison sentence to a laborer, Suraj Balu Mahanto (35), for the heinous crime of raping a 5-year-old girl five years ago. The verdict was delivered by Additional Sessions Judge and Special Judge (POCSO), V V Virkar, who also imposed a fine of Rs 20,300 on the convicted perpetrator.
The grim incident unfolded in September 2018 when Mahanto kidnapped the young child from the vicinity of her residence and subjected her to a horrific act of sexual assault. Promptly, a case was registered against him under both the Indian Penal Code and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. During the proceedings, Special Public Prosecutor Rekha Hiwrale presented a compelling case against Mahanto, highlighting the gravity of his actions. The prosecution’s evidence was persuasive, leaving no room for doubt regarding his culpability. In her judgment, Judge Virkar unequivocally declared that the prosecution had successfully established the charges against the accused. Recognizing the severity of the crime, the judge invoked Section 376(AB) of the Indian Penal Code, which carries a minimum sentence of 20 years. Additionally, Mahanto was found guilty under the POCSO Act.
The court’s ruling specified, “Since the punishment provided for the offense under Section 376(AB) of the IPC is greater in degree as compared to the punishment provided for the offenses under POCSO, he is sentenced only for the offense punishable under Section 376(AB) of the IPC.” This judgment serves as a stark reminder of the legal system’s commitment to protecting the rights and safety of vulnerable individuals, particularly children, and underscores the seriousness with which such heinous crimes are treated within the Indian legal framework.

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