A special women’s court on Wednesday acquitted four men accused of raping a woman at her friend’s house in Vile Parle in 2013. The court accepted arguments of the accused that the sexual encounter had taken place with the woman’s consent and that allegation that she was tied up was not proved. A women’s court judge, Vrushali V Joshi, acquitted accused Rajesh Varma (23), Mahesh Kevat (24), Krushna Kevat (33) and Ramchandra Hube (34) of gangrape, robbery with intention to cause death, house-trespass and wrongful confinement. Additionally, Hube was also acquitted of charges of molestation and criminal intimidation.
The incident had taken place in the home of a taxi driver in a lane behind Vile Parle police station. According to the prosecution, the taxi driver used to ferry the woman, a prostitute by profession, around the city.
On the day of the incident, the driver and the woman had lunch together, taking advantage of the fact that his wife was not in the city. They had then gone to his home in Vile Parle, where the police say they had consumed alcohol and twice engaged in sexual intercourse.
According to the prosecution, the accused, armed with a knife and a hammer had knocked on the door and forced their way inside while the woman was in the bathroom. The police claimed that the men had tied the woman’s hands and feet and raped her. Early in the morning, the driver had gone to bathroom and called a friend to inform the police. When the police had reached the house at 11 am, they found that the door was locked from inside and peering in from the window, saw the woman lying naked on the floor and the accused passed out intoxicated.
The police had seized several beer bottles, cigarette butts and a used condom from the accused. A forensic test later showed that the articles had the DNA of the accused on them. “There were discrepancies in the evidence of the taxi driver and the woman, who admitted in court that she had gone to the home of the driver for the purpose of prostitution. While the woman said that the accused raped her in the front room of the house, the driver said the crime was committed in the bathroom. The driver also said the accused had gone out and purchased beer from a shop at 3.30 am, but the woman said the man did not leave the house from the time that they had arrived till they were arrested,” said advocate Anjali Patil representing the accused. She added that no rope or clothes had been recovered to show that the woman had been physically restrained. “We put forward the theory of consensual sex. There were also no injuries on the body of the woman to indicate that she had been raped by four men. Moreover, when the men were lying intoxicated in morning, she had ample opportunity to run away,” Patil said.
She added, “After the police had entered the house, it did not conduct an arrest panchanama. The driver claimed that one of the accused had locked the door from inside, but no key was found in his possession.” The court also directed the men to pay a surety amount of Rs 15,000 each while settling the matter with them.