American student at Mumbai`s TISS was never raped: Court

A fast-track court, which acquitted all the 6 accused in the alleged rape of an American student of Tata Institute of Social Sciences last year, has observed that the victim was never raped and no "sexual intercourse" took place.

Last Updated: Oct 20, 2010, 00:08 AM IST

Mumbai: A fast-track court, which
acquitted all the six accused in the alleged rape of an
American student of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS)
here last year, has observed that the victim was never raped
and no "sexual intercourse" took place.

The court at Sewree had acquitted the accused, all
students, on October 6 for lack of evidence. A detailed copy
of the judgement was made available to the lawyers today.
The court`s observations that the victim was never
raped and no "sexual intercourse" took place were noted in the
100-page document. It described the 23-year-old victim`s
statements as "neither wholly reliable nor wholly unreliable".

The case dates back to April 12, 2009 when, according
to police, six friends - Vinamra Soni (23), Harshvardharn
Yadav (22), Jaskaran Singh Bullar (21), Anish Borkatki (21),
Dev Colabawala (21) and Kundanraj Bodgohai (22) took the
student to a house in Andheri and allegedly gang raped her.

"The victim claims that she doesn`t remember anything
about the incident that took place at the house of one of the
accused (Bodgohai). In such a scenario there should be some
corroborative, independent or medical evidence. No such
evidence is available in this case," the verdict said.

The court further said the victim, who had been out
with her friend to meet the boys at Cafe XO bar in Deonar
(where TISS is located), was not an invited guest and had just
landed at the place without any prior notice.

"So there is no scope of any prior meeting of minds.
The victim had gone to the cafe out of her will and was never
forced to accompany the boys (accused) to Kundan`s house at
Andheri," Principle Judge S D Jagmalani noted.

One of the important medical witnesses, Dr Minal
Sarmarkar, did not support the prosecution`s claim that the
victim was drugged with a date-rape drug. Sarmarkar had
testified that the drug`s sample was not traced in her urine.

The prosecution has to prove its case beyond all
reasonable doubts and there can be no presumptions that the
victim would always tell the entire story truthfully, the
Judge observed.
"The victim`s testimony falls under the third category
- neither wholly reliable nor wholly unreliable. In this
category, court has to circumspect and looks for corroboration.
Such corroborative evidences were not available in this case."

The American student`s claim that she had fallen
unconscious after the incident was rejected by the court. "The
victim had called her friend (Rishabh Choksi) during the time
she claimed she was outraged by the accused. The claim that
she fell unconscious can not be accepted."

It is true that the victim is a foreign national and
the court has sympathy towards such foreign citizens but at
the same time the court should not ignore basic principles of
criminal law, the Judge maintained.

PTI