A family court on Tuesday granted divorce to national level rifle shooter Tara Shahdeo from her husband Raqibul Hassan alias Ranjit Singh Kohli, with whom she got married in 2014. The divorce petition was filed last year and both the sides appeared in person in this connection.
Principal Judge (Family Court) Brajesh Kumar Gautam granted divorce after hearing both the sides. It had reserved the judgement on June 4, when Raqibul had presented his arguments. Tara had submitted affidavit running into several pages seeking divorce primarily on the ground that the marriage was conducted on the basis of false information and, subsequently, led to domestic and physical abuse.
Tara’s counsel, L C N Shahdeo, said: “We had filed the divorce petition under Sections 12 (1) (c) (seeking annulment of marriage) and 13 (1) (I-A) (inflicting cruelty) of the Hindu Marriage Act. These sections pertain to marrying on giving false information and inflicting cruelty. Our case before the court was that torture and pressure to convert to another religion had begun a day after the marriage on July 7, 2014. Tara was tortured and an attempt was made to get her married as per rituals of Islam. Subsequently, with the help of police, a case was filed.” He added that the divorce petition was filed on January 6, 2017. Shahdeo added that the court relied on the documentary evidence before it regarding the cruelty inflicted upon Tara Shahdeo by her husband.
Talking to mediapersons after the verdict, Tara Shahdeo said: “We are looking for justice in the other cases, which the CBI has registered. There is still a long way to go, but I am hoping that I will get justice.” She also said that the annulment of marriage would help to focus on her career in a much better way. Tara could not be contacted independently for her views. Her cousin, Rishi Shahdeo, said that Tara had gone for her practice after the case.
Raqibul alias Kohli, who was arrested in 2014 following FIRs registered against him and his mother is currently in jail. He appeared in this matter in person and had not hired any lawyer.
Apart from Raqibul alias Kohli, there are two other accused in the case – Mushtaq Ahmed, an officer in the High Court, and Kohli’s mother, Kaushal Rani. Ahmed was accused of helping Raqibul change his identity to Kohli. While Ahmed’s bail plea has been rejected by the High Court, his mother is on bail.
Tara was married to Raqibul, who had then allegedly posed as Ranjit Singh Kohli, in June 2014, at a high-end hotel in the capital. However, subsequently, she walked out alleging that Kohli was actually one Raqibul, leading to uproar and registration of FIR against him. Initially, the state police had registered FIRs under sections pertaining to inflicting cruelty for dowry.
However, a PIL was filed by Akhand Bharat before the Jharkhand High Court. On May 22, 2015, the High Court directed CBI to take over the investigations. Subsequently, it registered two FIRs, under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including rape, outraging the modesty of women and hurting religious sentiments.
The two cases are at evidence stage being heard in the courts of an ADJ and ACJM in Ranchi. Tara had approached the court with a complaint case within a couple of months of the marriage, after she was allegedly beaten up by Hassan, allegedly over attempts to get her converted. The police had subsequently registered three cases against Hassan.
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