Updated: April 11, 2021 3:45:01 am
THE woman who has accused Mumbai-based journalist Varun Hiremath of rape has written to Delhi Police Commissioner S N Shrivastava, with a copy to Home Minister Amit Shah, questioning the police failure to arrest him in 50 days, and asked why the police and the public prosecutor had failed to demand his presence at the time of filing of an anticipatory bail application in court.
Hiremath continues to be missing nearly two months after the woman filed the rape complaint. In her letter, sent on Friday, the woman asked why the prosecutor failed to file an application under CrPC Section 438 which would have directed “compulsory presence of the absconding offender” at the stage of his anticipatory bail application.
On Friday, the Delhi High Court gave Hiremath interim protection from arrest subject to his joining the investigation. He wasn’t present in court at the time of the application. The woman’s lawyer said the court granted the anticipatory bail despite the fact that her counsel too was absent.
The 22-year-old had filed an FIR under sections of rape, wrongful confinement and insulting modesty of a woman at the Chanakyapuri police station on February 23, accusing Hiremath (28), an anchor with ET Now, of raping her at a five-star hotel on February 20.
In her letter to the Police Commissioner, the woman says she has written to him several times earlier about the “mismanagement” of her case but not received a response. “This shocking degree of insensitivity towards my case is deeply distressing, and also makes me understand the true reason as to why so many rape victims in our country choose to suffer in silence, rather than to seek justice against their perpetrators.”
The woman asks why neither the police nor the public prosecutor had moved an application demanding Hiremath’s presence in court. “ I am given to understand that the prosecutor could have demanded the compulsory presence of Varun Hiremath at the time of hearing of his Anticipatory Bail Application — and yet shockingly did not do so. Why did he not do so?” reads the letter.
The woman also demanded to know why the investigating officers in her case, a Station House Officer and Assistant Commissioner of Police, had failed to take any action against Hiremath and said he has “escaped being arrested by the Delhi Police on two separate occasions”.
In the letter to the Commissioner, the woman adds that the failure by the police to act left her with no option “but to address my queries to the Home Minister, Shri Amit Shah, in the hope that at least he shall look into this gross miscarriage of justice being committed by your (Commissioner’s) department under your leadership”.
She has also alleged that a woman police officer had “mocked her” for writing letters to the Commissioner. She said the officer used the words — “ naivety and nuisance” — against her in March when she and her lawyer asked the officer about Hiremath’s arrest.
The woman’s lawyer, Jai Anant Dehadrai, told The Indian Express, “ On Friday, the interim protection was granted in the absence of the victim’s lawyer. What was the hurry that the court couldn’t wait for the woman’s counsel? Why is protection being given to someone who is already absconding? There was a senior counsel appearing for the victim, normal practice is that the court waits to hear the counsel by keeping over the matter. Strange that the court didn’t wait and hurriedly granted protection to an absconding rape accused.”
A senior police officer (New Delhi district) said they had received the letter. “ The matter is with the court. Teams were sent to nab Hiremath but he is absconding, his parents are also not aware of his location. We are investigating the matter.”
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