Pune, May 9 (IANS) A fast track court on Tuesday pronounced the death sentence for three prime accused in the sensational October 2009 gangrape and murder of software engineer Nayana Phatak-Pujari.

Special Judge L. L. Yenkar, who on Monday convicted Yogesh Ashok Raut, Mahesh Balasaheb Thakur and Vishwas Hindurao Kadam for kidnapping robbing, gangraping and then killing the victim, sentenced them to death after a hectic day full of arguments between the prosecution and defence lawyers.

Raut (32) and Thakur (31), both belong to Pune, and Kadam (34) is from Satara district.

Special Public Prosecutor Harshad Nimbalkar forcefully argued for the death penalty against the convicts, terming it as “the rarest of rare cases” considering the brutality of the crime against the victim.

He said that the prosecution conclusively managed to establish the complete chain of circumstances that led to the serious crime and said they deserved “the maximum punishment” under the laws.

“Considering the brutal manner in which the victim was gangraped and then killed, this falls under the category of rarest of rare case,” he said after the conviction.

As co-accused, Rajesh Pandurang Chaudhari, who was arrested as an accomplice, later turned an approver and was granted a pardon, defence lawyers B.A. Alur, Ranjit Dhomse-Patil and Ankush Jadhav, who sought a milder sentence, also argued that he was also guilty and should face the same punishment.

Raut pleaded that he was innocent and was being framed in the case, the vehicle was not in his possession at the time of the incident and the court should consider that he had an aged mother, wife and daughter before pronouncing its verdict.

Both Raut and Kadam demanded that Chaudhari was an equal accomplice in the crime and he also deserved the same punishment, though Thakur didn’t say anything.

The victim’s husband Abhijit Pujari, and sisters Manisha G. and Madhuri J. who had demanded the death penalty for the accused after their conviction on Monday, expressed their “relief and satisfaction” over the verdict before the media.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.