Senior Civil Judge and Full-time Secretary of DLSA, Vadodara, VJ Gadhvi, told The Indian Express, “The committee deciding the compensation includes the district collector, the Commissioner of Police of Vadodara city, the Superintendent of Police of Vadodara District, a doctor from SSG hospital and the Secretary of DLSA. The committee met on Friday and decided that the maximum compensation should be awarded to the legal heirs of the deceased victim. We have calculated the compensation based on the prescribed amounts. The compensation for rape is Rs 10 lakh as well as for murder and for victims of unnatural sex, it is Rs 7 lakh. We have proposed a sum of Rs 27 lakh accordingly and sent the same to the State Legal Services Authority.”

The Judge added that the state authority has the power to review and revise the amount, if it feels that the compensation is not commensurate or exaggerated, as the case may be. “We have sent the proposal for the maximum compensation but we will know only next week if the state authority will approve the entire amount. If they do so, it will be directly disbursed to the family,” Judge Gadhvi said.

The DLSA has also decided to appoint the father of the deceased — the maternal grandfather of her surviving children — as the legal guardian to children receiving the compensation. “The children were in the custody of the victim’s father, in the immediate preceding days as she was estranged from her husband, the police has said. So in this case, the paternal grandfather will be the guardian but a majority of the compensation disbursed will be kept in a fixed deposit so that the children can use it once they turn 18 years of age,” Judge Gadhvi told this newspaper.

The incident occurred on the evening of August 16 when six accused allegedly gang-raped the victim, who was working as a farm labour in the field near her house in a village in Karjan taluka of Vadodara district, after stuffing her dupatta in her mouth. Later, they strangulated her with the same dupatta and murdered her.

The Local Crime Branch (LCB) had arrested the six accused on Wednesday after the police sniffer dog, Java, led the police to a tent in a temporary settlement of nomads, hailing mainly from Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand, by the railway track near the farm. The Karjan police station has booked the accused for murder, gangrape and unnatural sex.

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On Friday, former MLA and current BJP leader Alpesh Thakor had met the aggrieved family of the victim and demanded a fast track trial in the case, while also lashing out at the local BJP leaders, including MLA Akshay Patel, for having ignored the victim’s family.