Thane: A local court awarded seven years’ rigorous imprisonment to a 24-year-old man from Wada taluka here for kidnapping and sexually assaulting his minor cousin.

District judge P P Jadhav convicted the man under IPC sections 363 (kidnapping) and 366A (procuration of minor girl) and the Protection of Children From Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act section 4 (punishment for penetrative sexual assault).

A fine of Rs 9,000 was also imposed on him.

Prosecutor Vinit Kulkarni told the court that on November 23, 2015, the girl, then aged 17 and studying in class 10, went to school but did not return home.

Her parents then

lodged a police complaint.

Later, it was found that the girl and the accused, who lived in their neighbourhood in Abitghar village, had eloped after he promised to marry her.

The accused, then aged 22, and the girl stayed at the residence of their relatives in two villages where he sexually assaulted her.

On February 4, 2016, he left his cousin at Mohadyacha Pada village in the district and asked her to go back to her parents’ home, the prosecution told the court.

Judge Jadhav observed that the girl’s cross-examination revealed she and the man were in love since about one year prior to the incident.

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