Odishs Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Mar 14:
The Cuttack District Sessions Court today held the main accused Mitu Patnaik guilty of rape in the Kandhamal nun gang rape case. Two other accused, Gajendra Digal and Saroj Badhei have also been convicted on charges of outraging the modesty of a woman.
The court has acquitted the rest six accused persons as there was no evidence of their complicity in the crime.
The court has sentenced prime accused Mitu Patnaik alias Santosh Patnaik to 11 years of imprisonment and has imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on him for his role in the nun gang rape case while sentencing the other two accused Gajendra Digal and Saroj Badhei to 26 months in jail for outraging the modesty of the victim.
The Court sentenced the three accused under IPC sections 355 (Assault or criminal force with intent to dishonour person, otherwise than on grave provocation), 354(Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 148 (Rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149(Every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 294 (Obscene acts and songs, Keeping lottery office), 506(Punishment for criminal intimidation).
This apart, Mitu Patnaik has been sentenced under IPC 376(2) (G)-(commits gang rape, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may be for life and shall also be liable to fine )in addition to the IPC sections mentioned above.
Since all the sentences will run concurrently, the other two accused Gajendra Digal and Saroj Badhei were granted fresh bail by the court today since they have already spent the 26 months of the sentence period as under trials in the jail. However, Mitu, pressently lodged in the Choudwar jai, will continue to stay there as he has spent only part of his 11 year sentence in the jail as an undertrial.
The court had completed its hearing in the case on March 4 and had kept its verdict reserved.
It may be recalled here that the nun was allegedly gang raped on August 25, 2008 at Kanjomendi near Baliguda in Kandhamal district.
Ten persons were arrested by the police in this connection.
A total of 29 witnesses from the prosecution side had been cross examined in the court. The court conducted cross examination and deposition of witnesses in 12 phases.
The hearing in the case was taken up by the district judge court, Cuttack following directions to this effect by the Supreme Court on January 6.
The Crime Branch of the state police, which probed the case, arrested about two dozen people and filed four charge sheets.
In the first phase, the court tried nine accused and completed its hearing March 4.