A special women’s court on 5 May held four accused guilty of murder of Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandez and awarded sentence to life in jail to them. Special judge Vrushali Joshi pronounced the verdict
The four accused persons, identified as Jitesha Rana, Sunil Bodh, Satish Dulhaj and Dipak Tival were arrested on October 20, 2011. The incident had shocked the entire country, which demanded a safer environment for women.
Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said among the 28 witnesses, five were eyewitnesses, including two women the deceased were defending. “There is evidence to show the accused were eve teasing and molesting girls when the victims tried to stop it. This is nothing but a pre-meditated murder,” said Nikam.
The victims were attacked after a scuffle in Amboli, Andheri (West). The duo was standing there along with some women friends when the group allegedly started harassing the women.
After retreating initially, the group came back to the spot with more than 10 people and repeatedly stabbed the duo as a crowd of 50 bystanders watched helplessly.
“It took five years to get justice for a boy who has done something good in society. We have to beg for justice,” said Keenan’s father Valerian Santos.
The four accused were picked up after the incident and charged with murder. Several others who were charged with rioting, were released on bail.
Though the case moved to a fast-track court in March 2012, the prosecution took a year to frame charges. The trial finally began in January 2013, only to be transferred to a women’s court two years later.
“I wanted death sentence for the accused. They should live every moment thinking about Keenan and Reuben, what they did to them,” said Keenan’s father Valerian Santos.