Nagpur: The Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court on Friday the upheld the 20-year rigorous imprisonment awarded to five men by a trial court for gang raping a schoolteacher, according to a media report.
Clarifying that it was not a case that for one or another reason or on account of some enmity, the accused have been falsely implicated in this case, the judges said the unfortunate survivor at prime age of her life was subjected to a beastly attack of the culprits.
Justice Sunil Shukre and Justice Govinda Sanap said that the manner in which she was treated during the course of the incident indicates that her womanhood, pride, prestige and dignity was defiled. The accused satisfied their lust in a shameful manner, the division bench noted.
Lauding the survivor for coming forward to fight the case, the bench said she has successfully weathered the storm of gruelling and searching cross-examination. “Perusal of the cross-examination in entirety would show that the cross-examiners, despite their efforts to discredit the survivor, could not deviate her an inch from the core of her evidence of the actual occurrence and the presence of the accused on the spot. On re-appreciation of the evidence, we are convinced that the survivor has narrated before the court a truthful account of the incident that occurred with her and involvement of the petitioners.”
The petitioners — Ashwin Dhonde, Anil and Roshan Ingle, Pundlik Bhoyar and Mohammed Pathan — were convicted by the Sessions Court under Section 376(D) and other offences and were sentenced to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment on October 23, 2018. All of them challenged the verdict in the High Court.
According to the prosecution, the victim, working as a schoolteacher, was with her friend at HB Town Square area in Kalamna police jurisdiction in Nagpur, when the five accosted them on December 2, 2014. At knife-point, they took them forcibly on two-wheelers, but her friend managed to escape. The accused took her to a secluded place and satisfied their lust by threatening her with dire consequences if she resisted. Despite her pleadings to them to leave her, they did not stop. They then dropped her at Besa from where she reached home and narrated the entire incident to her father. The survivor then lodged a complaint with Kalamna police, following which the culprits were arrested.
One of the accused contended that he had leg fracture when the crime took place, and therefore, he could not force himself upon the survivor. However, the judges pointed out that his DNA and semen reports were positive. “The victim, in such a fearful state of mind, might not have sensed the penetration. However, positive DNA report clearly indicates that this accused also had a penetrative sexual intercourse with the victim, otherwise, there was no reason to detect his semen in the cervix of the victim,” the HC said.