New Delhi: A Delhi court has awarded seven years rigorous imprisonment to a priest for raping a school girl in 2004 when she had gone to offer the prayer in a temple here.
"Convict Prem Dass did not consider the fact that by doing so he would shake the religious beliefs of the public at large as well as the conscience of society which holds the
priests of temples in high esteem," Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Sanjeev Aggarwal said.
The court also imposed a fine of Rs 2,000 on Prem Dass after holding him guilty under section 376 (rape) of IPC.
"The testimony of the victim has been found to be cogent and consistent and there is no reason to discard her testimony," it said.
It, however, rapped the police for not proving the alleged fact that the victim, a student of class 8th of a government school here, was a minor at the time of the incident.
The victim, who had gone to a temple at Narela here in May, 2004, was raped by the priest when she had gone inside his room in the complex to drink water.
The accused threatened her not to tell about the incident to others, she testified.
The victim further said the priest continued to rape her for about 9 months and later she informed her parents who, in turn, lodged an FIR.
The accused took the plea that he was implicated as parents of the girl wanted to grab a piece of the land on which the temple was built.
The court, however, rejected the plea saying "the defence of the accused stands unsubstantiated as no evidence was led by him despite being afforded an opportunity to do so."