Updated: June 7, 2018 11:07:10 am
A CBI court Wednesday sentenced to 10 years imprisonment five men, including former BSF DIG K C Padhi and former J&K Police DSP Mohammad Ashraf Mir, convicted in the 2006 Jammu and Kashmir sex abuse scandal case.
Rejecting the plea for leniency, the court said that the rape of a minor by senior officers could not be condoned as “public kept faith on them as protectors”. All five were taken into custody and sent to the Burail jail in Chandigarh.
Padhi and Mir were fined Rs 1 lakh each, while the others — Shabbir Ahmad Laway, Shabbir Ahmad Langoo and Masood Ahmad — were fined Rs 50,000 each. They were sentenced to imprisonment under Section 376 (rape) of the Ranbir Penal Code by Additional District and Sessions Judge Gagan Geet Kaur.
All five were held guilty on May 30 and were produced in court Wednesday. The court, while pronouncing the quantum of sentence, observed: “…The court does not see any mitigating circumstances for awarding sentence of imprisonment for a term of less than seven years to any of the convicts.”
On the issue of compensation to the victim, the court observed, “The fine amount be applied in the payment to the prosecutrix is as compensation for the loss of her reputation, dignity, mental harm and loss of opportunity of education.”
Rejecting the convicts’ plea for leniency after their counsels stated that they were not aware of the age of the victim, the court said, “The contention by convicts i.e not having knowledge of the age of prosecutrix at the time of occurrence has no weight at all and rejected at the very outset.”
“The manner in which the convict Shabir Ahmed Laway and Masood Ahmad alias Maqsood committed rape upon the minor prosecutrix on the same day at same place does not warrant any leniency. Further, the convict Shabir Ahmed Langoo committed rape upon her twice even when she did not accept his proposal of marriage.”
“The public keeps faith in them as their protectors. Performing official duty efficiently does not condone the individual immoral act of an officer,” the judgment read.
Commenting on the conduct of the victim argued by the defence, the court said that it was a reflection of her compulsions created due to poverty. “Poverty is one of the big factors which contributes to rising sexual violence against women. Most of the girls of poor family become prey to satisfy the lust of a man for a petty amount to run their life. So, poverty in itself is a form of structural violence because poverty exists due to failure of the system,” it said.
On May 30, the court had acquitted former J&K Additional Advocate General Anil Sethi and businessman Mehrajuddin Malik, giving them the “benefit of doubt”. Two prime accused, Sabeena and her husband Abdul Hamid Bullah, had died during the trial.
The case was first registered on March 14, 2006, at the Shaheed Gunj police station in Srinagar, under Section 67 of the Information Technology Act, after the J&K police found two video CDs of a 16-year-old girl being sexually exploited. The accused were arrested between April and June 2006. The case was transferred to the CBI in May 2006.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines