A special court in Odisha on Monday awarded life imprisonment to a 52-year-old man after convicting him for raping a minor Dalit girl in 2018.

The Special Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) court judge charged the accused guilty of committing the crime in Soro area of Balasore district and awarded the sentence.

Judge Jagdish Prasad Mohanty also imposed a fine of Rs 15,000 on the convict and ordered additional four more months of imprisonment in case of default.

The incident happened on April 14, 2018, when the 12-year-old girl had gone to a temple on the occasion of Maha Vishuva Sankranti'.

Special Public Prosecutor Pranab Panda said the convict had lured the girl on the pretext of offering her prasad', took her behind the temple complex, and committed the crime.

The court examined 13 witnesses and 18 documents before pronouncing the judgment, Panda said.

The accused was tried under various sections of IPC, POCSO Act, and Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.