In one of the quickest trials in a case of gangrape, a fast-track court in Bhopal Saturday sentenced four men to life imprisonment for raping an 18-year-old civil services aspirant who was on her way to Habibganj railway station here to catch a train to Vidisha on October 31.
After attending coaching class near the railway station, the teenager was waylaid by two men around 200 metres from the Railway Protection Force police station. They dragged her down and took her to the other side of the track through a nullah and raped her. Two other men later joined them and raped her. The first two men raped her again before leaving her for dead. She managed to reach the RPF police station and called her father.
The family ran from pillar to post to get the FIR registered as officials from three stations engaged in jurisdictional wrangles. Meanwhile, the girl identified one of the men, who lived in a nearby slum.
Golu Chadhar (25), Amar (24), Rajesh Chetram(26), and Ramesh Mehra(45), were charged under Indian Penal Code sections for gangrape and attempt to murder. Seventh additional district and sessions judge Savita Dubey sentenced them to life imprisonment till the end of their natural life.
The gangrape and delay in registration of FIR had caused an uproar and led to suspension of five police officials. The first medical report said sex was consensual but it was revised later to read “without her consent and will”.
Taking suo motu cognizance, the Madhya Pradesh High Court expressed displeasure over the handling of the case. The government then submitted an action taken report against the police officials and doctors. The HC directed Sessions Judge, Bhopal, to entrust the case to the judge who would conduct the trial on daily basis. The state government formed an SIT under DIG (crimes against women) Sudhir Lad for quick investigation. A 200-page chargesheet was filed on November 16. There were 26 prosecution witnesses.
Following the outcry, the district bar association had passed a resolution not to defend the accused, and the court provided them legal help. Advocate Indu Awasthi, who represented two of the four accused, said there were loopholes in the case and the judgment and that the defence would challenge the verdict in the high court. The girl’s father told The Sunday Express he was satisfied because the judge gave the maximum punishment allowed under the law.