In the sensational case of rape of a 17-year-old girl of Khuda Lahora by five policemen, the victim on Friday turned hostile, refused to recognise four of the accused, and told the court she had lodged the complaint under pressure from politicians and NGOs.
The girl, after whose complaint the five accused policemen were dismissed, said she had gone to the Sector 11 police station only to complain against constable Akshay, with whom she had a relationship and wanted him to marry her.
The proceedings were held in camera in the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge Anshu Shukla. However, advocates for the accused and also the victim stated that she disowned the complaint, which was lodged on December 19 last year, alleging that constables Akshay, Sunil, Himmat, Jagtar and Anil had raped her on several occasions. Berjeshwar S Jaswal, counsel for the girl, said, “It is really sad that she has turned hostile. She retracted from her statement given to the court earlier and what she told us.”
Rabindra Pandit, counsel for accused Himmat and Jagtar, said, “She stated that she was forced to give the statement against the accused. Because of unnecessary publicity, the girl had to suffer a lot. Today, in court, she stated that her grandfather had to sell his land and they were more than once told to vacate their rented house.” Harish Bhardwaj, counsel for accused Anil, said, “The victim clearly stated that she did not know any of the four accused and that she only knew Akshay.” On his next course of action, Jaswal said, “Though she has turned hostile, we will pursue the case on the basis of the statement she gave to the Judicial Magistrate and other evidence, like call records.”
BJP councillor Saurabh Joshi, who had raised the issue after initial complaints of police inaction, said, “The evidence is on record. The victim had recorded her statement before the magistrate. She had also taken the police to the spots where she was raped. The rest is now up to the courts. I feel that she was under pressure due to which she made such a statement today.”
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The accused policemen were posted at Sector 11 police station and Police Control Room vans. In her complaint, the victim had stated that Akshay visited her house after a call was made to the police regarding an incident of domestic violence. Later, Akshay along with his four friends started stalking her in a PCR van. A month later, the accused forcibly took her to a rented room at Khuda Lahora, where they allegedly raped her at gunpoint. She was subsequently raped many times over the next two months.
During investigation, the police got the girl’s statement recorded before Judicial Magistrate Anil Kaushik. With the chargesheet, the police stated that as many as 123 cellphone calls were exchanged between the victim and two of the accused, namely Sunil and Akshay, in two months. Also, 48 calls were exchanged between the victim and Sunil, whom she refused to recognise on Friday.
In her statement to the Judicial Magistrate, which was recorded on December 20, the girl was believed to have stated that she was forced to take medicines to avoid pregnancy. She had also alleged that she was threatened by the accused that they would kill her parents if she complained to anyone. On March 6, the court framed charges against the accused. Sunil and Akshay were charged with rape, sexual harassment, stalking and criminal intimidation, while Himmat, Jagtar and Anil were charged with criminal conspiracy and sexual harassment. The trial began on March 13.