A 31-year-old man accused of raping a minor allegedly feigned his own death by submitting a false death certificate through his family member before a special court in Mumbai. The incident came to light after a policeman, who suspected the claim of death, went to the accused’s hometown to verify it. On Monday, the accused was re-arrested and produced before the special court, which sent him to judicial custody.
The accused was arrested on April 7, 2015, on charges of rape under the IPC and under sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO). According to police, the victim, who was four years old at the time of the incident, was the accused’s neighbour. On the day of the incident, she was playing outside the accused’s house when he allegedly brought her inside. When the victim’s mother began looking for her, she allegedly heard the girl crying inside the house. When she knocked on the door, the accused opened the door, and she allegedly found the girl there. The girl told her mother about the incident after which an FIR was lodged against the accused and he was arrested.
In August 2015, the accused was granted bail because the court observed that he was young and if kept in custody, he could come in contact with hardened criminals. Though he attended court during the recording of evidence and the deposition of the victim and her mother, he stopped attending hearings from April 2018.
The police told the court that the accused claimed he had gone to visit his hometown in Uttar Pradesh as his father had passed away, but afterwards did not return for trial. The accused’s lawyer told the court that he was not in touch with him. The court then issued a bailable warrant in June last year.
On November 27, 2018, the accused’s brother claimed in the court that he had died. A death certificate was also submitted and a report was called for from the prosecution. In cases where the accused dies while trial is on, an abated summary report is filed by the police to stop proceedings against him.
Head constable, Nilesh Talekar of the Worli police station, submitted before the court that the claim will be verified first before such a report is filed. With permission of the senior police inspector of Worli, Sukhlal Warpe, a constable, Taj Lonare, was sent to the hometown of the accused to verify the claim. There, the police learned that the accused had not died. The police claimed that he was arrested from the city on Monday, when he had returned for some work.
The court has directed the police to continue with separate actions, including filing an FIR against the accused for filing a false document before the court. The trial against the accused in the rape case will continue.