A special fast-track court Thursday sentenced filmmaker Mahmood Farooqui to seven years’ rigorous imprisonment for the rape of a 30-year-old American scholar from Columbia University at his house last year.
Additional Sessions Judge Sanjiv Jain awarded the minimum sentence of seven years to Farooqui, who had earlier been held guilty under Section 376 (rape) of the IPC.
The judge observed, “… it can be safely held, that the testimony of prosecutrix, being truthful and credible, can be relied upon as being sterling worth for the purpose of the conviction of the accused.”
The court has also held that Farooqui “took advantage” of the woman when she was alone with him at his residence. “It was when the prosecutrix was alone with the accused… the accused, taking advantage of the situation, raped the prosecutrix,” said the judge.
He observed that the “conduct” of the woman, “to disassociate” herself from Farooqui, as well as the e-mail exchanges between her and the filmmaker, “clinches the case of the prosecution ”.
During her testimony before the court, the woman had said she told a friend — who had introduced her to Farooqui — about the incident. She said she had sent WhatsApp messages to the friend, and also spoken on the phone with him.
Her friend, a key prosecution witness, had told the court that the complainant had informed him about the alleged sexual assault immediately after the incident. He said that on the night of March 28, he had received text messages from her, saying the accused had forced himself upon her.
Farooqui’s defence — that he was being falsely implicated in the case — was dismissed by the court. “There is no reason to observe for the prosecutrix to falsely implicate the accused. Also, the delay in lodging of the FIR has been satisfactorily explained. Thus, I find no hesitation to conclude that the prosecution has proved the guilt of accused beyond reasonable doubt quo the charge of rape,” concluded the court. It also ordered Farooqui to pay Rs 50,000 as compensation and directed the Delhi Legal Services Authority to look into further compensation for the woman.
“The prosecutrix was a student. She had come to India to do her research work. After the incident, she could not complete her research. She incurred expenditure on her travel to India…,” stated the court.