The Gujarat High Court Monday commuted the death sentence of two men, convicted for kidnapping and murdering a five-year-old boy in 2012, to life imprisonment. A bench of Justices J B Pardiwala and A C Rao dismissed the appeals filed by convicts Akshay Patel and Kuldeep Panchal against the trial court's judgement.
The duo would undergo "a minimum of 30 years in jail without remission", the high court said. The trial court at Visnagar in Mehsana district had on March 17, 2016 awarded capital punishment to Akshay Patel and Kuldeep Panchal.
They were accused of kidnapping and murdering a five-year-old boy from Visnagar on March 17, 2012 when he was playing with his friends near his house. The boy's father Pratik Patel received calls from Akshay Patel the next day, demanding Rs 50 lakh to release the boy.
However, on March 18, 2012, the accused, apparently in panic as police were closing in on them, killed the child by slitting his throat under a bridge near Rakhav village. They were arrested the next day.
The high court held that the case did not fall in the category of 'rarest of rare', and set aside the trial court's decision to award them the death sentence. Instead, they would undergo a minimum 30 years' sentence without remission before consideration for release, the high court said.
(With inputs from agencies.)