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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Venezuelan national assault: Court tells cops to add sections of sexual assault, criminal intimidation

The Venezuelan woman has alleged in her petition to the Gujarat High Court that on August 27, 2020, she was called to a cabin by the director of the company and was raped and sexually assaulted.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
Updated: March 20, 2021 9:02:02 am
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A BHAVNAGAR sessions court on March 17 directed the station to add sections of punishment for rape and criminal intimidation, in a case where a 29-year old Venezuelan national working at a Bhavnagar-based company was allegedly raped and sexually assaulted by one of the directors of the company.

Additional sessions judge Sitaben Tarani quashed and set aside a magisterial court’s order that had rejected the state’s application seeking the addition of the two offences under IPC (sections 376 and 506(2)) after prima facie investigation by the CID revealed that a case is made out of rape and sexual assault.

The Venezuelan woman has alleged in her petition to the Gujarat High Court that on August 27, 2020, she was called to a cabin by the director of the company and was raped and sexually assaulted. In September 2020, the sexual assault survivor, who was on an employment visa, was also terminated from her services by the accused. In December, the woman filed a complaint on the e-portal of the State CID, Crime, disclosing offence of rape and assault and on January 4, she filed a complaint in person with the state CID branch in Gandhinagar but no FIR was registered. Subsequently in January intimate images of the victim with the brother of the accused was leaked on social media. The woman filed a second complaint this time with the local police station under the offences of IPC section 354 (c) (punishment for disseminating images taken without consent or knowledge of the person being photographed) and provisions of the Information Technology Act (section 67 and 67 (A) – transmitting, leaking obscene images). An FIR in this regard came to be filed on January 19.

As per the petition, the victim made representation to DGP Ashish Bhatia, requesting that the inquiry on her earlier complaint of sexual assault be transferred along with the FIR before the Vartej police station, to the state CID for investigation. By way of an order of January 22, the FIR came to be transferred but the complaint was not, following which the victim moved before the Gujarat High Court seeking transfer of the inquiry arising out of the complaint of January to the State CID branch.

While recording statement of the victim before the magistrate under the appropriate provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure in relation to the FIR concerning circulation of her intimate images, the victim had also recorded about the incident of sexual assault. Based on this, the state government submitted before the HC that inquiry is ongoing in the complaint and the petition came to be withdrawn. In March, the investigating officer and police inspector with State CID Crime, Bhavnagar filed a report before the court of additional chief judicial magistrate at Bhavnagar for addition of IPC Sections 376 and 506(2). However the magisterial court rejected the report. Following the rejection, the state and the victim moved an application before the Bhavnagar sessions court challenging the lower court’s order.

The Bhavnagar sessions court on March 17, quashed and set aside the lower court’s order, thus permitting the additions of the two offences of punishment for rape and criminal intimation in the form of a report, to be ‘kept with the FIR’. As of March 19, no arrests had been made in the case.

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