Acquitting six students of the charge of gangraping a US national, the Bombay High Court Wednesday dismissed the Maharashtra government challenge to a trial court verdict in their favour, a lawyer said.
‘The division bench of Justice Mridula Bhatkar and Justice N.H. Patil said that there is no evidence to prove the gangrape,’ said Rohini Salian, defence lawyer of one of the accused, Vinamra Soni.
In April 2009, the 23-year-old student of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) accused six friends – Harshvardharn Yadav, Vinamra Soni, Anish Borkataki, Jaskaran Singh Bhullar, Kundanraj Borgohain and Dev Colabawala – of gangraping her after calling her to a party.
‘The trial court acquitted the accused as the victim’s statement was inconsistent. She first claimed three persons could have raped her and later said it could be six,’ Salian said.
‘She also said that she suspected she was raped and not that she was sure that the act took place. Medical evidence also showed no indication of any sort of sexual contact of the victim with any of the accused,’ the lawyer added.The court said that in case of absence of direct or indirect evidences, the offence could not be proved.‘In this case neither the woman is saying directly that she was raped nor is there any evidence to prove so. Even the medical tests are negative,’ the lawyer said, quoting the judges.
On April 12, 2009, the victim joined a party outside the institute’s campus in Trombay in north Mumbai along with two of the accused, who later invited her to their home nearby, she alleged.
There the other accused were already present and they committed the crime, she alleged.
In October 2010, a Mumbai trial court acquitted all six accused due to lack of evidence, following which the state government filed an appeal in the high court.