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SC upholds death penalty to 2 sisters in Anjanabai Gavit case

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Aug 31 (UNI) Delivering a speedy ruling in the sensational Anjanabai Gavit serial murder case, the Supreme Court today upheld the death sentence awarded to two sisters, convicted of murdering five children out of the 13 they had kidnapped and forced into petty crime.

A bench, comprising Justices K G Balakrishnan and G P Mathur, dismissed appeals by sisters -- Renuka Kiran Shinde (31) and Seema Mohan Gavit (29) against the judgement of the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court in September 2004 confirming the death sentence awarded by the Kolhapur sessions court in 2001, holding that there were no mitigating circumstances in favour of the two appelants.

''Going into the details of the case, we find no mitigating circumstances against them apart from the fact they are women.

Further the nature of their crime and the systematic way in which each child was kidnapped and killed amply demonstrates the depravity of the mind of the appelants. They indulged in criminal activities for a very long period and continued till they were caught by the police. They very cleverly executed plans of kidnapping the children, and the moment they were no longer useful, killed them and threw the dead body at some deserted place,'' they said.

The bench said that the sisters had ''not been committing crimes under compulsion but took it very casually and killed all these children, least bothering about their life or the agony of their parents.'' ''We do not think that these appelants are likely to reform, and will remain a menace to society. The inhabitants of the locality in which the two were living was so horrified that they could not send their children to school for the fear that they would be kidnapped or killed,'' it further noted.

The bench also vacated the stay it had granted against the execution of both, when their appeal had been admitted and directed the authorities concerned to make all arrangements for the execution of the penalty.

Renuka alias Rinku, her husband Kiran Shinde and her sister along with their mother, Anjanabai Gavit, were part of a gang that kidnapped children from Thane, Nashik and other areas between 1990 and 1996 and forced them to become beggars or commit petty thefts.

Later, when the children began to pose a problem, they were mercilessly killed by the gang members.

The gang had kidnapped over a dozen children in this period, all of whom later disappeared. The murders of the children, aged between seven months and four years, had gone undetected for nearly six years. While there were no eyewitnesses in the case, the prosecution had relied on the testimony of Renuka's husband, who had turned approver.

Facing charges for the murder of nine children, the two sisters and their mother Anjanabai were ultimately convicted of the murder of five -- identified as Santosh, Anjali, Shradha, Gauri and Pankaj.

However, Anjanabai had died in custody in 1997, a little over an year after her arrest.

UNI AKS/SC VD KN1613

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