New Delhi: In a relief to MDLR airlines employee Aruna Chadha, the Delhi High Court today not only quashed the charges of abetment of rape and unnatural sex against her but also held that they cannot be "sustained" against prime accused Gopal Kanda in the airhostess suicide case.
"It is apparent that the ASJ (additional sessions judge) unjustly admitted into evidence the confessional statement made by the petitioner (Chadha) and illegally put the burden to prove the same on the co-accused (Kanda) and the Petitioner which is not permissible.
"The ASJ fell into gross error in framing the charge under Sections 376/377 (rape and unnatural sex) against the co-accused GGK (Kanda) which cannot be sustained. Since no charge against co-accused under these Sections could have been framed, the Petitioner could not have been guilty of abetting these offences," Justice G P Mittal said.
The verdict, which came on the plea of Chadha, referred to her statement to police and held that except the disclosure statement, there was "not even a shred of evidence" to show that Kanda sexually exploited the victim and Chadha abetted in the commission of these offences.
"Apart from the supplementary disclosure statement of the Petitioner AC (Chadha) there is nothing to indicate that co-accused GGK (Kanda) had illicit relations with Geetika Sharma (victim) or that she had multiple pregnancies...
"All the more, there is not even a shred of evidence to indicate that co-accused Gopal Goyal Kanda committed sexual intercourse with deceased or had carnal intercourse against the order of nature with her or that the same was against her (the deceased) will or without her consent or that the Petitioner facilitated in any act of rape or unnatural offence alleged to have been committed by GGK," the court said.
"...The petition is partly allowed to the extent that the framing of the charge for the offence punishable under Section 376/109 and Section 377/109 IPC is set aside," it said.