New Delhi, June 10 :
The Supreme Court Tuesday stayed the death sentence of Kalu Khan, convicted for the rape and murder of a four-year-old girl in Rajasthan.
A bench of Justice J.S. Khehar and Justice C. Nagappan also issued notice to the Rajasthan government on the Khan’s plea challenging his conviction and sentence.
A special judge at the SC/ST court in Sriganganagar in Rajasthan had convicted Khan, describing his offence as the “rarest of rare” and awarded him the death sentence.
The sentence was confirmed by the Jodhpur bench of the Rajasthan High Court April 9.
As Khan’s counsel Asha Jain Madan sought to pick holes in the prosecution case and the investigation undertaken by Rajasthan Police, the court said the body of the girl was recovered from a pit in the courtyard of the accused.
In the case, it was alleged that Khan lured the girl from her father’s house and took her to his house on the promise of giving her berries. Upon reaching his home, he prompted his juvenile son to commit the rape, and later he too raped the girl. Khan later killed the child.
His son was tried by the Juvenile Justice Board.
The body of the girl was found when her grandfather saw Khan’s son burying something in a pit in his courtyard.
When the son failed to give any satisfactory answer on what he had buried, the pit was dug up and the girl’s body was found.
Khan’s counsel told the court may be the son committed the offence and when he was caught near the pit, he named his father for the crime.
Staying the execution of the death sentence, the court said: “The only thing that bothers us is if the father rapes a child, will he (also) ask his child to rape her?”
Khan in his petition said the offence for which he has been convicted did not come in the “rarest of rare” category and the only evidence against him was that of the co-accused, his son, who was allegedly found burying the body of the child.
He said he should not have been awarded death sentence based on the facts of the case, where the conviction was based solely on circumstantial evidence and neither was the murder pre-planned as held by the trial court nor did he have any criminal past.