'Ranchi's Nirbhaya' convict awarded death sentence

Ranchis Nirbhaya convict awarded death sentence

A 23-year-old habitual offender identified as Rahul Raj has been awarded death sentence for rape and murder.

Ranchi: A 23-year-old habitual offender identified as Rahul Raj has been awarded death sentence for rape and murder of an engineering student on Friday. The verdict was given by special CBI Judge AK Mishra who, on Friday found Raj guilty of the rape and murder of the victim. She was a fourth-semester engineering student in a college located at Ormanjhi area of Ranchi.

The Case:

Naked body of the victim was found in the morning of December 16, 2016 in her house in Booty Basti area. Officials stated that the student lived alone. d. Her sister had called one of her neighbours to enquire about her well-being as she was not answering her phone. When the neighbour went to check on her, she found her body in smoke as the house was on fire. An autopsy confirmed that the victim was raped and strangulated to death. Jharkhand police collected DNA samples from the body of the victim. The case triggered huge student protests in Ranchi who called the victim "Ranchi's Nirbhaya".

The state government had recommended a CBI probe on January 3, 2017, but it reached the agency only after the Centre issued a notification on January 25, 2018, after over a year. The suspects were narrowed down to 10 of which Raj figured in the list of suspects. He lived in the locality and was absconding after the body was discovered. He was arrested in Patna for an alleged sexual attack on a minor and was in judicial custody for over three years after he had jumped the bail.

The repeat offender had 10 cases against him in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. After fleeing, Raj had allegedly used a number of aliases to evade arrest, they said.

The agency collected the blood samples of his parents in Nalanda. It showed a perfect match with the only male DNA sample collected from the body of the victim.

He was taken into the CBI's custody on June 23 this year from Lucknow and brought to Ranchi, where his blood samples were collected, which matched the DNA samples collected from the victim's body.

Armed with conclusive forensic evidence, the CBI filed a chargesheet against Raj within three months and the charges were framed on October 25, the officials said.

The trial started on November 8 and during the day-to-day hearing, the agency examined 30 prosecution witnesses over a period of 16 days. The process was completed in a little over a month with the conviction of Raj by the special court on Friday, the officials said.

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