April 4, 2021 11:11:22 am
Dismissing the plea of a Punjab woman who sought a CBI probe claiming that she was blackmailed and raped by a local Congress worker, the Punjab and Haryana High Court imposed on her a fine of Rs 1 lakh after finding that the proceeding initiated by her were false and frivolous.
“From the facts and circumstances…it is clearly established that an attempt has been made to not only abuse the process of law but also overawe the authorities,” a bench of Justice Harnaresh Singh Gill said dismissing the woman’s plea.
The woman had approached HC seeking directions to Punjab government to hand over the investigation in a rape case registered on her complaint at Nihal Singh Wala police station in Moga to the Central Bureau of Investigation or to some other independent agency.
In her petition, woman claimed that that she had been working at a dispensary in Moga where the accused, “who is an active member of the local wing of the ruling (Congress) party”, used to visit. She alleged that in the second week of December 2019, the accused approached her and claimed that he had some videos of her with different males in compromising position. The woman alleged that the accused threatened to upload the videos on internet if she did not develop physical relations with him or paid him Rs 5 lakh.
The woman, in the petition, said that she and her mother, in order to save her respect and dignity in the society, entered into compromise with accused and on December 11 and 12 the same year paid Rs 4 lakh to accused at his residence, whereupon he assured to delete all objectionable videos. However, she claimed, on April 25, 2020, the accused again visited her office and told her that he still had some video clips and demanded another Rs 3 lakh. When she showed inability to pay the money, the accused allegedly took her in a car to an isolated place and raped her, the woman said in her petition.
The woman claimed that she reported the matter to the police and when no action was taken, she appeared before Moga SSP on May 22 last year and got recorded her statement. The woman said that instead of registering an FIR, the SSP constituted a two-member committee comprising DSP, Crime Against Women, Moga and a woman Inspector to enquire into the matter. In her petition, the woman claimed that DSP asked her to settle the matter with the accused as “he happens to be the man of means and belonging to the ruling party”. The woman said that she then moved an application under Section 156 (3) CrPC at local court for issuing directions to the SHO, Nihal Singh Wala, for registering an FIR against accused. On the directions of the court, an FIR under Section 376 (rape) was registered against the accused, but he was not arrested. She claimed that she was neither medically examined nor her statement under Section 164 CrPC recorded.
Meanwhile, on directions of the high court, the Punjab DGP constituted a SIT, which submitted that a FIR registered by the petitioner was fake and recommended for presentation of supplementary challan/cancellation report. As per an affidavit filed by the DGP, the allegations raised by the woman in the FIR are not proved as the cellphone location of the petitioner and accused do not match with her allegations. The SIT has also drawn a conclusion that there was a friendly relationship between the petitioner and accused and the dispute between them arose only when the petitioner made a written complaint to a gram panchayat against her husband, daughter and her in-laws’.
Justice Gill, after hearing the arguments, held that it was clear “that the petitioner has levelled false and frivolous allegations against the respondent” and “has gone to the extent of lodging the FIR in question and recording the statement” before the magistrate. “The petitioner has not approached this court with clean hands,” Justice Gill observed.
While dismissing the plea, the bench meanwhile imposed a cost of Rs 1 lakh, to be paid and deposited by the petitioner with the Institute for the Blind, Sector-26, Chandigarh. It, however, asked the trial court to proceed further with the case pending before it, in accordance with law.
The accused was represented by Advocate Arshdeep Singh Brar.
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