A man arrested on charges of rape and criminal intimidation and kept in jail for over two months has been granted bail by a city court after the victim told the judge that the accused was her husband who had been framed,in collusion with police,by a relative who owed them money.
In a statement under oath,27-year-old Shahnara Begum said she had gone to police after her husband failed to return home following a quarrel in February. Being illiterate,she sought the help of a relative who took her to the Gandhi Nagar police station and made her sign papers. She said the policemen refused to answer her questions,and took her to a local hospital for a medical examination.
Days later,she learnt that her husband,who had been staying at his mothers house,had been arrested and jailed for rape.
Shahnara Begum said the relative owed her husband more than Rs 20,000 and had refused to return the money. She said she approached the Gandhi Nagar station house officer (SHO) and then sent letters to senior officers through her lawyer but no one helped her.
Her husband,Habib Lashkar,was released on bail by the court of Additional Sessions Judge T R Naval on April 11,over two months after his arrest,following Shahnaras testimony.
The FIR that led to his arrest had details of the exploitation of a young woman whose husband had deserted her,how she was brought to Delhi from a village in Bengal,how accused Habib Lashkar forced her to live with him as his wife after threatening to kill her son. The FIR also claimed that Habib forced her to sign a paper after telling her that it was a marriage certificate.
But the victim told a completely different story to the court. In the statement u/s 164 Cr PC,the prosecutrix,instead of supporting prosecution case,made statement in favour of the accused and,inter alia,stated that accused was her husband. On my enquiry,IO has even failed to find out or to make investigation on this point whether accused is husband of prosecutrix or not, ASJ Naval said in his order while granting bail.
Advocate S M Zulfiqar Alam said that Shahnara faced threats and people sought favours to help her get her husband released. He said he had sent a letter on her behalf to the Public Grievances Commission about the false and fabricated case against Habib and how Shahnara was being harassed.
Incidentally,the SHO named in this complaint was suspended earlier this week following protests over police handling of the case of the rape of a five-year-old girl.