The Bombay High Court on Monday commuted to life imprisonment the death sentence given to two men convicted for the rape and murder of a business process outsourcing firm, or BPO, employee in Pune in 2007, The Hindu reported.
Justices BP Dharmadikari and Swapna Joshi heard criminal petitions filed by Pradeep Kokade and Purshottam Borate, who were awarded the death penalty in 2012, seeking a stay on their execution that was originally scheduled on June 24 in Pune. Their lawyer Yug Chaudhary told reporters the court had said in its judgement that the two men should be in prison for a period of 35 years after taking into account the time already spent and remission, PTI reported. It accepted the petitioners’ argument that there had been an inordinate delay in carrying out their executions, Chaudhary added.
The incident occurred on November 1, 2007, after the BPO firm employee got into a regular cab contracted by her company to report for night duty. She was picked up from her home in a Pune suburb. Borate was driving the car and was accompanied by his friend Kokade. They changed the route and took the woman to a remote place, where she was raped and strangled with her dupatta. They also mutilated her face to conceal her identity.
In September 2012, the High Court confirmed the death penalty given to the two. The Supreme Court upheld the verdict in May 2015. The Maharashtra governor and president of India rejected their mercy petitions in 2016 and 2017. On April 10, a sessions court in Pune 10 issued warrants setting June 24 as the date of execution.