Published On : Tue, Feb 23rd, 2016

Youth spends 6 year in Jail now seeks 100 cr as compensation

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Nagpur: Jail was the last place this youth expected to spend six years of his life. But this happened. A mistaken identity and the subsequent ordeal forced this youth spend over six years in prison for no fault of his as such. His only fault was his name was similar to a rape accused. However, now the youth has knocked the doors of Bombay High Court and sought a compensation of Rs 100 crore for time he spent in jail. The High Court too has admitted his petition. The outcome would be awaited eagerly.

The name of this “unfortunate” youth is Gopal Shete. The hearing on the petition of Shete is being held before the Division Bench of Justice R V Morey and Justice V l Achaliya. The judges have reportedly observed that the matter appears to be implication of Gopal Shete on false grounds. The High Court further said that the petition will be admitted for considering the compensation as sought by Shete but the side of Government will also be heard.

Shete’s claim:
Gopal Shete has claimed that he had to spend over six years in jail for the crime he has not committed. Gopal’s lawyer Nilesh Ojha informed the court that his client had to lose his job in a hotel and moreover his wife too has divorced him. Therefore, the aspect of compensation be hammered out at the earliest. The court can order an interim relief as earlier also the victimized persons were awarded with the interim relief.

What exactly happened:
According to the petition filed by Gopal Shete, a mentally challenged girl was raped at Ghatkopar Railway Station on July 19, 2009. Kurla police had then arrested Gopal Shete, originally hailing from village Davsa, Tehsil Narkhed in Nagpur District, who was working in a hotel. The victimized girl had told the police the name of accused as Gopi. But because of similarity of sorts in the name, Gopal was arrested in place of Gopi and sent to jail as well. The lower court had awarded 7-year imprisonment to Gopal. Due to paucity of money, he could not procure bail in the case. Subsequently, Gopal spent six years and three months in jail but the rest of the term was pardoned off by jail authorities because of Gopal’s good behavior. In the meanwhile, Gopal challenged the lower court verdict in the High Court. The High Court, on June 10, 2015, acquitted Gopal from the charges of rape. The High Court had observed that the lower court should have given benefit of doubt to Gopal in the case since no concrete evidence was presented as far as identity of the accused was concerned.1 (1)

Ravikant Kamble