Mahanand Naik who was convicted for murder of Sushila Fatarpekar has been sentenced to life imprisonment by Principal Sessions Judge Nutan Sardessai who pronounced the order on Friday.
It may be recalled that Mahanand was convicted in this case on 30th May which was the first conviction after having been acquitted in seven similar cases.
In the instant case, Mahanand was accused of having strangulated Sushila on 24th October 2007 at an isolated spot in the Goa University complex after luring her there by promising to marry her.
Police had charge sheeted Mahanand in 16 murder cases and in all cases he is accused of befriending marriageable aged girls and asking them to dress in their best clothes to meet his parents to talk about marriage. He was accused of taking the girls to isolated spots and strangulating them thereby giving him the sobriquet of “dupatta killer”.
However, in seven cases, Mahanand was acquitted as the prosecution failed to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubts and the police explanation was that many of the cases were very old and the trail had run cold.
Mahanand was acquitted of murdering Darshan Naik on 27th September 1994, Sunita Gaonkar in 2003, Surat Gaonkar on 19th March 2006, Bhagu Upaskar on 21st March 2007, Nirmal Amonkar in February 2008 and Shakuntala Kavthankar.
In fact, the acquittal in one of the cases pronounced by Sessions Judge Desmond D’Costa resulted in his suspension as the then principal sessions judge complained against the acquittal.