Pune, May 8: AA fast track court here on Monday convicted three prime accused in the sensatiol October 2009 gangrape and murder of software engineer ya Phatak-Pujari.
Special Judge L. L. Yenkar will deliver the quantum of sentence on Tuesday against the accused trio who have been found guilty of kidpping, robbing, gangraping and killing the victim.
The accused - Yogesh Ashok Raut, Mahesh Balasaheb Thakur and Vishwas Hindurao Kadam - were held guilty under Indian Pel Code Section 376, 302, 120B, 361 and other counts, said Special Public Prosecutor Harshad Nimbalkar.
Another accused, Rajesh Pandurang Choudhari, arrested as an accomplice, later turned an approver and will be eligible for a pardon.
“We have conclusively established the various charges against all the accused and the court has accepted our arguments,” Nimbalkar told media persons shortly after the verdict.
He said that the prosecution maged to establish the complete chain of circumstances that led to the serious crime and said he would demand the maximum punishment for all the accused.
“Considering the brutal manner in which the victim was gangraped and then killed, this falls under the category of rarest of rare case,” he added.
ya’s husband, Abhijit Pujari and her younger sister have demanded that “the accused should be hanged” for the heinous crime they perpetrated against her.
“There is some sense of relief. Whether it is Nirbhaya or ya, it was an act of rape and murder.... The law prescribes capital punishment as an option... and I think they deserve it,” Pujari said.
However, he expressed disappointment that despite being heard by a fast track court, it took over seven years for the verdict.
On the night of October 7, 2009, Phatak-Pujari had completed her duties at Synechron IT company in Kharadi and was preparing to go home, when Raut, who worked there as a driver, offered her a lift.
However, instead of driving towards her home, he diverted the cab towards Rajgurugar, while picking up two other friends en route.
The three repeatedly raped her in the moving car and then stopped at a desolate spot, where the stched her debit card, forced her to reveal the pin and and withdrew total of Rs 61,000 from her account.
They subsequently strangled her with her scarf, smashed her head with a large stone to mangle her face and dumped her body in the forests of Zarewadi from where it was recovered after two days.
The case created a scare among Puneites, especially those working in late-night shifts in the IT sector and resulted in enhanced security measures both by the companies and police.
The three and Chaudhari, a guard at the company, were subsequently arrested.
On September 17, 2011, Raut maged to escape from police custody while being taken to a hospital for treatment and was bbed only in May 2013 after the shocking case of Nirbhaya gangrape case in New Delhi.
The trial, which continued for over seven years, saw four different judges hearing the matter in which the prosecution examined 37 witnesses and the defence another 13 witnesses.
In his statement, accused-turned-approver Chaudhari said he was threatened by Raut, Thakur and Kadam that they planned to elimite the victim and he should keep his mouth shut about it.
Arrested on October 16, 2009, Chaudhari claimed that he was extremely remorseful about the incident but was equally scared over the death threats issued by the accused. However, he later mustered courage and agreed to turn an approver in the case.
He revealed how, after gangraping her, the trio stched her ATM debit card and forced her to reveal the PIN number, with Kadam pointing a knife at her.
Later, Kadam and Thakur left on a motorcycle and withdrew the money from her ICICI Bank account, but did not inform Chaudhari.
It also emerged during the investigations by the police that Raut had raped and murdered a 22-year old woman vegetable vendor in Pune a few months before this crime. (IANS)