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HC upholds 8-year jail sentence for Santosh Madhavan

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HC upholds 8-year jail sentence for Santosh Madhavan
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Kochi: The High Court Thursday upheld the eight year conviction and sentence of Santosh Madhavan in a case involving rape of minor girl, but the former godman got a reprieve as another conviction in a similar case was set aside.

The Ernakulam Additional Sessions Court had convicted and sentenced Santhosh Madhavan to 16 years imprisonment and slapped a fine of Rs one lakh on him in May last year for raping and sexually harassing two minor girls.

Challenging his conviction, Santosh Madhavan filed two separate appeals in the High Court.

While upholding one sentence, Justice P Bhavadasan set aside the second conviction on the reason that a majority of crucial prosecution witnesses had turned hostile.

The sessions judge had relied on CDs and photographs recovered from Madhavan's lockers, the court held.

The court said 'viewing cassettes can be justified. But it is absolutely essential that their authenticity should have been established'.

Authenticity, accuracy, correctness and veracity of the CD has to be proved, the court said. In the absence of sufficient evidence against the accused, the court set aside the conviction and sentence in one of the cases.

Meanwhile, the High Court rejected the plea of the accused that in the second case there were infirmities in the evidence of the victim.

The Court said being a minor girl,it was quite natural.On that basis, prosecution case cannot be said to be weak. "This is the agony of a poor girl who felt lost.

There is a ring of truth in the revelation made by the girl", the court held.

The charges against Madhavan was that he had lured the minor girls, hailing from poor families, confined and sexually exploited them between January and March 2006. The former godman was arrested on May 13 2008 on a complaint by a Keralite woman, Serafin Edwin, residing in the Gulf that he had cheated her of Rs 45 lakh.

Following searches in his house and various other establishments, incriminating documents against him had surfaced, leading to the 16-year sentencing.

PTI

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