Aluva child rape case: Lone accused Ashfaq Alam awarded capital punishment

Ashfaq Alam (28) is the lone accused in the case. Photo: Manorama

Kochi: The Ernakulam POCSO Court on Tuesday sentenced Ashfaq Alam (28), the lone accused in the abduction, rape and murder of a five-year-old girl in Aluva, to death and five life terms. The court, accepting the prosecution's argument the case was among the rarest of the rare, observed the accused did not deserve any leniency and that he was a threat to the entire society. Judge K Soman, who presided over the trial, pronounced the sentence on the 110th day of completing the trial, which was also Children's Day.

Ashfaq was sentenced to five years for destroying evidence, three years for drugging the minor, life imprisonment for raping the minor and the death penalty for the murder and rape of the five-year-old. The court also directed the accused to pay a fine of Rs 7,70,000.

The court upheld 13 charges levelled by the prosecution against the accused, including murder, kidnapping, torture, indignity to a human corpse, destroying evidence and three POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) charges. The defense had argued that the death penalty be avoided citing the defendant's age and possibility of repentance.

Talking to Manorama News, the victim's parents, who were present at the court, said they had full faith in the system and that the accused deserved nothing less than the death penalty for his crime. The girl's father had said he would meet Ashfaq after the court pronounced the sentence.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the punishment should be seen as a strong warning to those who commit violence against children. He said that the child fell victim to the most heinous crime and therefore, the entire criminal justice system worked efficiently to catch the culprit and ensure the maximum punishment for him. He also said that while nothing can replace the loss suffered by the parents, the government has assured them all kinds of help.

Praising the investigation team, ADGP (Law and Order) M R Ajith Kumar IPS said the quick response of the probe team and the completion of the procedure in only 30 days helped in securing a speedy and satisfactory conclusion to the case. "Aluva DySP Prasad, Inspector of Police Manju Das and the probe team consisting of almost 30 officials did a good job as they were able to wrap up the investigation in 30 days. The police force led by the SI was able to capture the accused in a few hours. This was crucial to the case," he said. The ADGP also commended the residents, media and authorities for helping in the case since the beginning. 

The trial, which started on October 4, was completed in 26 days. It was on July 28 that Ashfaq abducted the child of a couple from Bihar and brutally raped her before torturing her to death. On the morning of July 29, her body was found tied in a sack in the Aluva market area. The accused, who is a drug addict, gave the minor juice mixed with intoxicants to rape and later kill her.

A total of 41 witnesses were examined in the case. Ashfaq was tried with the assistance of an interpreter. The police wrapped up the investigation in the case and filed the chargesheet in court within 30 days.

Sections imposed on Ashfaq Alam
IPC 302:
 Life imprisonment or death penalty

IPC 376 2(j): Rape of minor girl
Punishment: Life imprisonment or rigorous imprisonment up to 20 years

IPC 366A: Inducing a minor girl under 18 years to go somewhere or do something with the intent or knowledge that she may be forced into illicit intercourse
Punishment: Imprisonment of up to 10 years and a fine

IPC 364: Kidnapping with intent to murder
Punishment: Rigorous imprisonment up to 10 years or life imprisonment and fine

IPC 367: Kidnapping or abducting someone to subject them to grievous hurt, slavery etc
Punishment: 10 years of rigorous imprisonment and fine

IPC 328: Infliction of harm to a person by means of poison, or any stupefying, intoxicating or unwholesome drug
Punishment: Rigorous imprisonment for up to 10 years and fine

IPC 377: Unnatural offences; whoever voluntarily has carnal inter­course against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal
Punishment: 10 years rigorous imprisonment and fine or life imprisonment

IPC 201: Causing disappearance of evidence of offence
Punishment: Seven years imprisonment and fine if the evidence destroyed is of an offence punishable by death

IPC 297: Indignity to any human corpse
Punishment: Imprisonment of one year and fine

POCSO Act 5(m): Committing penetrative sexual assault on a child below twelve years
Punishment: Minimum of 20 years rigorous imprisonment, life imprisonment or death penalty and fine

POCSO Act 5(i): Causing fatal injury after sexual assault
Punishment: Minimum of 20 years rigorous imprisonment, life imprisonment or death penalty and fine

POCSO Act 5(l): Committing penetrative sexual assault on the child more than once or repeatedly
Punishment: Minimum of 20 years rigorous imprisonment, life imprisonment or death penalty and fine

Juvenile Justice Act, Section 77: Giving intoxicating liquor, narcotic drugs, tobacco products, or psychotropic substances to a child
Punishment: Imprisonment of up to seven years and a fine up to Rs 1 lakh

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