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HC sets aside trial court decision, acquits four men in abduction, gangrape case

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New Delhi, Apr 1 (PTI) The Delhi High Court on Monday acquitted four men sentenced to life imprisonment by a trial court for allegedly abducting and gangraping a woman in 2018, saying the investigation was not upto the mark.

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Allowing the appeal filed by the four men challenging the trial court's judgment, the high court said no incriminating word had been said by the woman and her parents and there was not enough material on record to prove the case of prosecution.

"Investigation is also not upto the mark as neither PCR form nor CDR of mobile of 'G' (woman) were placed on record. Keeping in mind the fact that 'G' was major at the relevant time, the DNA report, which was not even put to the accused under Section 313 CrPC, does not carry any value. Resultantly, we allow the appeal and acquit all the accused persons of the charges," a bench of Justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Manoj Jain said in its verdict.

The high court said the trial court has not given any weightage to the fact that the woman made a statement before the police on July 29, 2018 in which she accused the men of abducting her and forcibly establishing physical relations with her, and thereafter, when she was produced before the magistrate, she claimed that she had left the home on her own and reiterated the same version in the witness box.

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"In such a situation, there was virtually nothing which could have indicated that she had been kidnapped and then confined and gangraped," it said.

According to the prosecution, the woman was kidnapped and gangraped by four men on July 29, 2018 and she managed to escape from their clutches and informed the police.

However, later she changed her statement and deposed before the trial court that she knew all the four men as they were residents of her native village but did not utter anything further against them.

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“Though she admitted her signatures on various documents but reiterated, in no uncertain terms, that complaint had been given by her under the influence of her parents. Thus, she apparently disowned the contents of all such documents, including her own complaint,” the bench said, adding that the testimony of the woman’s parents also does not serve any help to the prosecution’s case.

The court said it was quite baffling and mysterious as to why the police did not collect the call details records (CDR) details of the mobile of ‘G’ and that it would have certainly thrown valuable light on vital details.

It said no effort was made to obtain and place on record the CDR and added that holding back such a valuable piece of evidence has to be taken as a circumstance against the prosecution.

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“We will not mince any word in commenting that CDR of ‘G’ would have also reflected her location which could have even strengthened the case of prosecution but is not explicable as to why such a valuable piece of evidence was not bothered to be collected. Thus, a golden opportunity went begging,” the bench said.

Regarding the DNA report, the high court said it was an admitted case of the prosecution that ‘G’ was major at the relevant time and even if semen was detected on the ‘legging’ of the victim and the DNA extracted from the same matched with the DNA profile of the accused persons, it could not have been automatically assumed that it was a case of sexual assault, when she has not uttered even a single word in this regard.

It could have been also taken as a case of consensual physical relationship, the court said. PTI SKV SKV TIR TIR

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