An Uttar Pradesh court on Thursday found no medical evidence of gangrape in the September 2020 Hathras rape case. The judge further observed that it was possible the victim was tutored for her statement while making his ruling on the matter.
The court observed that undisputedly the case took on a political colour and many politicians came to meet the victim’s family. Thus, the possibility cannot be ruled out that the final statements made by the victim were tutored and she was prodded into making allegations of gang rape against the four accused, the special judge observed.
The judge said there was no doubt that Sandeep attempted to strangle the victim with her dupatta, however, there was no evidence to prove he tried to rape her.
It was further noted that witness statements are usually embellished and it is up to the court to sift through what is true and what’s not. The judge observed that the victim’s statements were inconsistent because at first, she had said Sandeep attempted to strangle her with a dupatta; however, days later she amended her statement to include allegations of gangrape by all the accused.
Witness statements about the location where the victim was found versus the timeline of events on that day were also inconsistent, the court added.
In its 167-page judgment, a special UP court acquitted three—Ramu, Ravi, and Luvkush—of all charges and convicted Sandeep for culpable homicide not amounting to murder and provisions of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Later in the day on Thursday, the special court sentenced Sandeep to life imprisonment and fined him Rs. 50,000. From this, Sandeep must pay Rs. 40,000 to the victim’s family.
The Hathras rape case refers to the alleged gang rape of a 19-year-old Dalit girl by four upper-caste men. The victim succumbed to her injuries at a Delhi Hospital on September 29. A day later, UP Police forcibly cremated the girl's remains post-midnight and in the absence of her family members.
Love affair gone wrong
Special Judge Trilok Pal Singh said the truth of the matter was that Sandeep and the victim loved each other and were in constant touch on the phone which was proved through call records. The families of the couple would remain angry because of this relationship, the judge said. Even on the day of the incident, the victim’s family members assaulted her after she got caught gesturing at Sandeep.
No medical evidence of rape
The special court observed the medical examination took place on September 22, a week after the incident took place. Medical College, Aligarh found no medical evidence of rape. Even the clothes worn by the victim on the day of the incident did not yield any forensic evidence of rape, the judge noted.
The allegations against the accused have been leveled out of enmity, the judge noted and thus they must be released with respect.
Sandeep strangled victim
The UP court observed that there was no doubt that the girl fainted after Sandeep, the sole convict, pulled her by the dupatta which was around her neck. Relying on medical experts, the judge noted that the ligature marks around the neck had gaps. However, if Sandeep intended to kill her by strangling her with a dupatta, there would be ligature marks all around the neck, the court said.
The court relied on prosecution witness Professor Adarsh Kumar, Chairman MIMB who gave a definite opinion that during strangulation, normally a victim died within a few minutes. The court thus concluded that since the victim was talking for days after the incident, it cannot be said that the accused intended to definitely to kill her.
It is also true that injuries on the victim's body are most likely to have been caused by one person only, the court order read.
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