Rape, murder convict gets lifer, victimís family disappointed

Strongly reacting to the recent Supreme Court judgment which commuted the death penalty of the convict who brutally raped a 23-year-old pregnant woman and killed her mother-in-law in a case here in 2007, the victim's family on Sunday said the perpetrator of the crime had "no right to live".

The apex court has commuted the death sentence of convict Sandesh Abhang who killed the 65-year-old woman in a barbaric act, chopping off her fingers and later stabbing her repeatedly. He later raped her pregnant daughter-in-law.

Speaking on behalf of the family, advocate D Y Jadhav, who had fought the case as public prosecutor in Pune sessions court which had awarded the death penalty to the accused ó later upheld in the High court ó told reporters here, "This was one of the rarest of the rare cases. My client was very keen on the death penalty to the perpetrator of the heinous crime and is disappointed."

Jadhav, who has since retired as public prosecutor, said as a lawyer he respected the court's verdict but added that it was "unfortunate" that the convict was spared of the gallows even after committing such a brutal and inhuman act.

The woman died a "mental death" when she was assaulted, he said. The victim, who was five months pregnant at the time of the crime, later gave birth to a child. She too was assaulted with a knife by the accused but took the cuts on her back to save the foetus.

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