The Odisha High Court on Wednesday commuted the death penalty of a man convicted of raping and murdering a three-year-old last year in Sambalpur district, a lawyer said.
A division bench of the high court at Cuttack, 26 km from here, comprising Justice Pradip Kumar Mohanty and Justice Biswajit Mohanty, reduced the death sentence of 28-year-old Bisi Munda to life imprisonment, defence lawyer BK Ragada said.
“The judges said the case did not fall in the rarest of rare category and commuted the death penalty to life imprisonment,” he said.
Munda had kidnapped the girl from her Budhiapalli village, 317 km from here, October 4 last year when her parents were away. After raping and murdering her, he dumped the body in a forest near the village.
The decomposed body was found from a ditch four days later while police arrested Munda October 13.
The ad-hoc additional sessions judge of Sambalpur, Ashok Kumar Panda pronounced Munda guilty January 11 and reserved its order on the quantum of sentence. He pronounced the death penalty six days later. The convict moved the high court against the sentence.