A city court on Tuesday awarded life imprisonment till death to a 22-year-old man for raping and killing an 81-year-old widow at her South Delhi residence two years ago, saying it was a "brutal and diabolic" act.
"Keeping in view facts and circumstances of the case, I sentence the convict to undergo rigorous imprisonment for life which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of his natural life or death," Additional Sessions Judge Sanjiv Jain said while handing down the jail term to Neeraj Safi, the victim's servant who raped and killed her in her Greater Kailash-II house on July 7, 2014.
"In the instant case, the convict not only committed the vile act upon the victim, an old lady aged 81 years, but also strangled her to death. He was her full-time servant and was engaged to take care of her. He set the victim on fire after cutting pieces of mattress and using kerosene oil. The act of the convict was brutal and diabolic," the judge said.
The court, which said he committed a heinous offence and betrayed the trust of his master who was an aged lady, refused to award death sentence, considering Safi's age and clean antecedents.
"It is also true that the convict is a young man aged 22, and does not have previous record of conviction and his parents are old and poor, but it is still noted that he committed rape and murder of his master aged 81 years who used to live alone. He betrayed her trust and did heinous offence.
"On considering the facts and circumstances of the case, balancing the interest of the society at large and the rights of the convict, I am of the view that this case does not fall under the category of rarest of rare case warranting death sentence," it said.
The court also observed that "brutality in taking away the life of the victim is only one of the factors which isrequired to be taken into consideration for coming to the conclusion that the case in hand is one of the rarest of rareones," adding that it has to strike a balance between aggravating and mitigating circusmtances. Besides the jail term, the court also imposed a fine ofRs 18,000 on him considering his poor background.