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Court acquits man of charges of sexual assault, family demands CBI investigation

According to details, Salmani — a resident of UP's Saharanpur, who had gone to Panipat in search of work — himself had been allegedly attacked by a group of men on August 23, 2020.

Written by Sukhbir Siwach | Chandigarh |
Updated: May 26, 2022 6:21:55 am
On Sept 7, the FIR was lodged after Salmani was declared fit. Soon after this, a counter FIR was lodged against Ikhlakh. A family alleged that Ikhlakh kidnapped a boy and sodomized him.

A Panipat court on May 20 acquitted a man, identified as Ikhlakh Salmani, in a case of sodomising a boy from a locality observing that the police case had multiples holes in it.

According to details, Salmani — a resident of UP’s Saharanpur, who had gone to Panipat in search of work — himself had been allegedly attacked by a group of men on August 23, 2020. The men after attacking Salmani (28), had chopped off one of his arms after calling him a “terrorist” and seeing a religious tattoo on his arm.

Salmani’s family had later alleged that after they lodged an FIR about the incident, a family in their locality turned up and lodged a counter-complaint against Salmani claiming that their son had been sexually assaulted by him.

“At about 8 pm (on August 23, 2020), a group of accused had approached him and enquired about his name. They started abusing him on knowing that he is a Muslim. They accused him of being a terrorist and stated that because of terrorists like him that the country was in doldrums. They brutally beat up him till he fell unconscious. He kept lying there and at about 11 pm, he gained consciousness. He got up in search of some drinking water and medical help. He approached one of the nearby houses and called out for help. The accused, who had beaten him up earlier, came out of the said house. The man on seeing him dragged him back inside the house and started beating him up again and were soon joined by other members of the house — one woman, three men. They later chopped off his right hand below the elbow, which had a religious tattoo using a saw machine,” Salmani’s family mentioned in the High Court.

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On September 7, the FIR was lodged after Salmani was declared fit. Soon after this , a counter FIR was lodged against Ikhlakh. A family alleged that Ikhlakh had kidnapped a boy from his house at night. The family further alleged that Ikhlakh took him to a park, put a stone in his mouth and sodomized him.

While pronouncing his verdict last week, Panipat judge Sukhpreet Singh observed: “This court is of the view that the prosecution has failed to prove its case beyond the shadow of a reasonable doubt. The entire case of the prosecution is centered on the testimonies of the victim (the boy), his father and his uncle. However, neither the victim nor his father and uncle have been able to inspire the confidence of the court in their credibility. There are a number of facts which impact the credibility of the version of the victim.”

The court further said: “(the boy) deposed that the accused person had scratched his cheeks and hit him with his fist, due to which he lost two tooth. During his cross examination, a photograph was shown to the boy in which he was shown in his house in a fit condition without any swollen lips etc..” While pointing out to the delay in FIR, the court said: “The complainant took the stand that there is a delay in filing the FIR because they were hunting for the accused. Here it is pertinent to mention that the complainant has himself stated in his complaint that the accused disclosed his name and address to him before fleeing from the spot. Hence, when they were already in the knowledge of the name and address of the accused, then why they did not immediately report the matter to the police.

The court added, “There is no explanation by the prosecution regarding delay in registration of FIR by the complainant.…because of the inconsistencies, contradictions and the improbabilities in the testimonies of the victim, his father and uncle, the presumptions have been rebutted. Consequently, it is held that the testimony of the victim, his father and uncle is not sufficient and cannot become the sole basis to convict the accused.”

Ikhlakh Salmani’s brother, Ikram Salmani, told The Indian Express that they have approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking a CBI probe into the matter. “No action has been taken on our complaint against teh men who chopped off my brother’s arm yet.” Contacted, advocate Arjun Sheoran said that in the case, neither the accused have been arrested nor a challan been filed against the people who chopped off Ikhlakh’s hand.

However, Panipat Chandni Bagh Police Station SHO, Inspector Mahipal, denies delay on their by stating, “The blood samples of his body, his chopped off arm and from the railway track were sent to the Forensic Scientific Laboratory (FSL) for DNA test . We have sent repeated reminders to the laboratory, but still we have not received the report from the laboratory. The matter is under investigation.” The police official refused to comment on the court order that acquitted Ikhlakh.

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