Conviction of the year: Death sentence in Jyotikumari case
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The year saw conviction in two rape and murder cases, two perpetrators getting death sentence in the Jyotikumari Choudhary (22) case that had rocked the nation, and the accused in the Rohini Randive (10) rape-murder case being awarded life term. Firing on a witness outside the court premises and the announcement of setting up a second court premises at Moshi were some of the other events that marked the crime and punishment scene in Pune in 2012.
The year began with the conviction of 81-year-old Mohiniraj Kulkarni. He was on January 3 sentenced to life imprisonment for the rape and murder of 10-year-old Rohini Randive, daughter of his domestic help Rekha Randive. Rekha, who was a co-accused, turned approver and was released during trial. This was followed, on March 20, 2012, by the conviction of the accused in the Jyotikumari Choudhary gangrape and murder case.
Two convicts, Purushottam Borate and Pradeep Kokade, were awarded the death sentence. Their sentence was confirmed by the Bombay High Court in September. On December 7, a court sentenced six of the 11 accused in the Sagar Sahani (22) kidnapping and murder case to life imprisonment. Convicts Prasad Shetty (31), Arvind Chaudhary (35), Bhiku Thanki (46), Jitendra Modha (38), Chotu Ghisaiwala alias Ravetsingh (30) and Nitin Modha (40), from Vadodara, Porbandar and Agra, were handed out life term. The court gave accomplice-turned-approver Narayan Jameriya (71) of Porbandar a tender of pardon and discharged him in the case. Five others were acquitted due to lack of evidence. Sagar, son of a Pimpri-based businessman, was kidnapped and murdered for a Rs 2-crore ransom in 2005.
Despite these convictions, the acquittal of Sunil Suresh Boudh (24) of Paud Road and Chandar Shivalal Sharma (23) of Bavdhan on August 25 due to absence of substantive evidence in connection with the murder of Dr Vijay Ghaisas (66) came as a shocker for many. The murder had taken place on June 16, 2008 when Ghaisas was alone in his bungalow along Prabhat Road.