Gaganjit Singh Barnala acquitted in rape case

Nearly three years after Gaganjit Singh Barnala,former Shiromani Akali Dal legislator from Dhuri was booked for rape,the court of additional district and sessions judge Ravi Kumar Sondhi acquitted him of all charges on Friday.

Written by Express News Service | Chandigarh | Published:February 28, 2009 1:35 am

Nearly three years after Gaganjit Singh Barnala,former Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) legislator from Dhuri was booked for rape,the court of additional district and sessions judge Ravi Kumar Sondhi acquitted him of all charges on Friday.

Barnala,son of Tamil Nadu Governor Surjeet Singh Barnala,was accused of raping his middle-aged domestic help at his official residence in Sector 3 in August 2006.

In her initial statements,the complainant had told the police that she had been raped by Barnala. She had been rushed to hospital with injuries and severe bleeding from her private parts.

Later,she turned hostile in court and said she had received injuries after falling off a bicycle. She never supported any of her initial statements given to the police.

Following this,the Chandigarh Police had moved an application in the court seeking permission to recall her for trial. The prosecution,however,failed miserably as the woman denied having any knowledge about the content of the CDs,which contained a video of her initial statements given to the police. “I was not in a proper state of mind and have no idea about what I said,” she had told the court.

Several loopholes in the police investigations combined with the victim disposing in court that she was not raped led to the acquittal,said defence counsel A S Sukhija. “For the first time,I saw a case in which there was no complainant. It was all done to tarnish the image of the politician,” he said.

During the court proceedings,the defence counsel said: “Only medical evidence could have corroborated the victim’s allegations but the reports do not support her claims. There were no injuries on Barnala and the DNA reports also exonerated him. Moreover,there were five persons present in the house at the time the incident is reported to have taken place. This makes it difficult to believe that a rape can actually take place in the presence of so many people.”

During the cross-examination of the doctor who examined her,it was revealed that there could be seven causes of her injuries and rape is just one of them. Thus,it could not be proved that the bleeding occurred due to rape,added the defence counsel.

Bhama Devi,the police constable who recorded the statements of the victim,was never produced in court during the trial. In the videographed statements of the complainant,the police personnel were also found repeatedly asking her to say that she has been raped, added the defence counsel.

Timeline:
* August 12,2006: The domestic help accuses Barnala of rape. Case registered at the Sector 3 police station. Woman rushed to hospital with injuries.
* September 18,2006: Barnala gets bail
* September 28,2006: Police submit chargesheet in court
* November 4,2006: Court frames rape charges against Barnala
* December 15,2006: Victim turns hostile in court
* February 27,2009: Barnala acquitted

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