Muzaffarpur case: Court seeks CBI response on Brajesh Thakur’s plea claiming witnesses not reliable.

A Delhi court on Tuesday sought response of the CBI on a plea filed by Brajesh Thakur, prime accused in a case of alleged sexual and physical assault of several girls in a Muzaffarpur shelter home, claiming that testimonies of witnesses in the case were not reliable.

Additional Sessions Judge Saurabh Kulshreshtha directed the CBI to file its reply within two days and deferred for the third time pronouncement of judgement in the case till November 20.

The plea filed through advocate P K Dubey said the prosecution witnesses were not of sterling quality.

The plea was filed as the probe agency had given a statement in the Supreme Court that the girls, who were thought to be allegedly murdered, were alive, said advocate Dheeraj Kumar, representing some of the accused in the case.

The court had earlier deferred the order till January 14 as the judge was on leave and prior to it, the judgment was deferred by a month as 20 accused, who are currently lodged in Tihar central jail, could not be brought to court premises due to lawyers’ strike in all six district courts in the national capital.

The court had on March 20, 2018, framed charges against the accused, including Thakur, for offences of criminal conspiracy to commit rape and penetrative sexual assault against minors.

The accused included eight women and 12 men.

The Court had held trial for the offences of rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, drugging of minors, criminal intimidation among other charges.

Thakur and employees of his shelter home, as well as Bihar department of social welfare officials were charged with criminal conspiracy, neglect of duty and failure to report assault on the girls.

The charges also included offence of cruelty to child under their authority, punishable under the Juvenile Justice Act.

All the accused, who appeared before the court, pleaded innocence and claimed trial.

The offences entail a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.

The court had reserved order on September 30 after final arguments by the CBI counsel and 20 accused in the case in which former Bihar Social Welfare Minister and the then JD(U) leader Manju Verma also faced flak as allegations surfaced that Thakur had links with her husband.

She had resigned from her post on August 8, 2018.

The CBI had told a special court that there was enough evidence against all the accused in the case.

However, those accused have claimed that the CBI had not conduct a “fair investigation” into the case, which has been registered under the provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and entails life imprisonment as the maximum punishment.

Additional Sessions Judge Kulshreshtha, during the in-camera trial, concluded the arguments in the case.

The case was transferred on February 7 from a local court in Muzaffarpur in Bihar to a POCSO court at Saket district court complex in Delhi on the Supreme Court’s directions.

During the trial, counsel for the CBI told the court that the statements of minor girls, who were allegedly sexually assaulted, point to the fact that there was enough evidence against all the accused and they should be convicted.

The matter had come to light after the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) submitted a report to the Bihar government on May 26, 2018, highlighting the alleged sexual abuse of minor girls in the shelter home for the first time.

On May 29 last year, the state government shifted the girls from the shelter home to other protection homes. In May 31, 2018, an FIR was lodged against the 11 accused in the case.

The top court had on August 2 taken cognisance of the alleged sexual assault of about 30 minor girls in Muzaffarpur’s shelter home and transferred the probe to the CBI on November 28.

Muzaffarpur shelter home case : Delhi court defers verdict till Jan 14

A Delhi court on Thursday deferred by a month the judgment in the case of alleged sexual and physical assault of several girls at a shelter home in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur which was run by former Bihar People’s Party (BPP) MLA Brajesh Thakur.

Additional Sessions Judge Sudesh Kumar deferred the verdict till January 14 next year, as Judge Saurabh Kulshrestha, who had conducted the trial, was on leave on Thursday.

The court had earlier deferred the order by a month till December 12 as the accused could not be brought to court premises from jail due to lawyers’ strike in all six district courts in the national capital at the time.

On Thursday, it adjourned the judgement after all the 20 accused, including Thakur, were brought from Tihar jail, where there are currently lodged, and produced before it.

The court had on March 20, 2018, framed charges against the accused for offences of criminal conspiracy to commit rape and penetrative sexual assault against minors.

The matter had come to light after the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) submitted a report to the Bihar government on May 26, 2018, highlighting the alleged sexual abuse of minor girls in the shelter home.

The accused included eight females and 12 males.

The court had held in-camera trial for the offences of rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, drugging of minors, criminal intimidation among other charges, said advocate Dheeraj Kumar Singh, appearing for some of the accused in the case.

Key accused Thakur and employees of his shelter home, as well as Bihar department of social welfare officials were charged with criminal conspiracy, neglect of duty and failure to report assault on the girls, the lawyer had said.

The charges also included offence of cruelty to child under their authority, punishable under the Juvenile Justice Act.

All the accused, who appeared before the court, had pleaded innocence and claimed trial.

The offences entail a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.

The court had reserved order on September 30 after final arguments by the CBI counsel and 20 accused in the case in which former Bihar Social Welfare Minister and the then JD(U) leader Manju Verma also faced flak as allegations surfaced that Thakur had links with her husband.

She had resigned from her post on August 8, 2018.

The CBI had told a special court that there was enough evidence against all the accused in the case.

However, those accused have claimed that the CBI had not conducted a “fair investigation” into the case, which has been registered under the provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and entails life imprisonment as the maximum punishment.

Additional Sessions Judge Kulshreshtha, during the in-camera trial, concluded the arguments in the case which had begun on February 25 this year.

The case was transferred on February 7 from a local court in Muzaffarpur in Bihar to a POCSO court at Saket district court complex in Delhi on the Supreme Court’s directions.

During the trial, counsel for the CBI told the court that the statements of minor girls, who were allegedly sexually assaulted, point to the fact that there was enough evidence against all the accused and they should be convicted.

On May 29 last year, the state government shifted the girls from the shelter home to other protection homes. In May 31, 2018, an FIR was lodged against the accused in the case.

The top court had on August 2 taken cognisance of the alleged sexual assaults of about 30 minor girls in Muzaffarpur’s shelter home and transferred the probe to the CBI on November 28.

HC upholds life term to 5 convicts in 2010 Dhaula Kuan gangrape

The Delhi High Court has upheld the life imprisonment awarded to five convicts in the sensational 2010 Dhaula Kuan gangrape case of a 30-year-old BPO woman executive from north-east.

A bench of justices Vipin Sanghi and P S Teji dismissed the appeals of five convicts and said that not only was the victim’s testimony sufficient, but her deposition was also corroborated by her friend, who was with her at the time of abduction, and her employer.

The bench handed down the jail term to Usman alias Kale, Shamshad alias Khutkan, Shahid alias Chhota Billi, Iqbal alias Bada Billi and Kamruddin alias Mobile, all residents of Mewat region in Haryana.

It said the prosecution has been able to establish all the charges against the convicts who have failed to make out any ground in support of their appeal and the same deserves dismissal.

The bench said that from the woman’s testimony, the prosecution has established that on the night of November 23 -24, 2010, the five men had kidnapped the victim near Sharma Automobiles in south Delhi’s Moti Bagh, took her in a pick-up van and raped her in the moving vehicle.

The incident took place when she along with a friend was returning home from their office in Gurgaon and were just dropped by the office cab.

The convicts then took her to Mangolpuri in outer Delhi, gangraped her and left her at an isolated road. The victim has since returned to her home in Mizoram.

Upholding the conviction of the five, the bench said that the trial court found the woman’s evidence credible and trustworthy and the high court finds no reason to take a different view.

“In our considered view, the testimony of the prosecutrix is natural, reliable, credible and trustworthy, free from any kind of glitches. She in simple language narrated the incident at the time of her deposition before the trial court and her testimony has duly been corroborated by her friend and employer,” it said.

The five men were convicted and sentenced by a trial court here in October 2014, with the judge observing that the the offence demonstrated that the five married men having children, “were on the prowl, looking for a prey to satiate their sexual lust.”

It had said that they were “psychopaths” who should be kept away from the society as long as possible.

The five men were held guilty for offences of gangrape, abduction, criminal intimidation and common intention.

Besides awarding them life term, which was the maximum sentence for the offence, the court had also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on each of the convicts.

The convicts challenged the trial court verdict claiming that they were falsely implicated and that there was a gap in the prosecution story regarding identification of the accused and linking them up with the crime.

The bench, however, rejected their claims saying that while Usman and Shamshad were identified by the woman during their test identification parade (TIP), Shahid, Iqbal and Kamruddin had refused to participate in TIP proceedings and an adverse inference is warranted against them.

It also said the DNA report clearly demonstrated that the victim was raped by them.

Man given seven-yr RI for abduction, rape of minor

Man who has abducted and raped a minor girl in 2007, the family of the 25-year-old accused Santosh Bhausaheb Pawar had immediately sprung into damage control mode.

In exchange for withdrawing the case, the victim was given the offer of marrying the same man who raped her. He had also offered to transfer three acres of land he owned in her name. However, the victim’s refusal to budge has landed Pawar in jail for seven years.

Principal District and Sessions Judge A I S Cheema found Pawar guilty of abducting and raping the 15-year-old girl and keeping her captive in a farm for three days after the act. Judge Cheema on Tuesday sentenced Pawar to seven years of rigorous imprisonment and directed him to pay a fine of Rs 25,000.

Both Pawar and the girl are residents of Bhambarde village of Shirur taluka and knew each other. On April 3, 2007 the victim and her friend had ventured into the village where they met Pawar. When they were returning home a few hours later, the victim’s uncle Dyaneshwar Mhaske had spotted the girls and offered to drop them home on his motorbike.

While her friend agreed, the victim refused her uncle’s offer. Meanwhile, Pawar also arrived at the spot on his motorbike and offered a lift to the victim and she agreed.

However, instead of dropping her home, Pawar took her to the Chaskaman canal and raped her in one of the cement pipes lying at the bank. He then forcibly took her to a nearby farm and confined her there, threatening to hurt her and her family members if she protested.

For three days the victim was held at the farm, with Pawar making frequent visits to the place before she found her way home on April 6. Her family had meanwhile lodged a missing person’s complaint and after her father Bhausaheb Shivram Mhaske learnt of the rape, filed a complaint of rape, abduction, wrongful confinement and criminal intimidation.

“The accused had alleged that the girl had consented to the act, but as she was below 16 years of age, he is liable to be imprisoned after being found guilty,” according to the Additional Public Prosecutor Hira Bari.

“That the family of the accused made an offer of marriage and land reflects a guilty conscience and an attempt to tamper with evidence. This was accepted as a valid argument by the court,” added Bari who had examined eight witnesses during the trial.

Court summons Sanjay Dutt in threat case

Actor Sanjay Dutt has been summoned by the local court on March 1 in a criminal case filed by producer Shakeel Noorani who has alleged he got threat calls from the underworld at Dutt’s behest.

However, actor’s lawyer Rizwan Merchant denied that threat calls were made at Dutt’s behest and said they would put up their case in the court.

Both the producer and actor are at loggerheads over an issue in which the actor disbanded Noorani’s film “Jaan Ki Baazi” half way in 2002 and refused to shoot further. Dutt also refused to return part payment of Rs 50 lakh to the producer, according to Noorani.

Acting on Noorani’s complaint, the Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court at suburban Andheri last week asked Dutt or his lawyer to appear before it to answer the allegations of criminal intimidation levelled against him by the producer.

Merchant confirmed having received the court summons. “Yes, we have received the summons,” he mentioned.

Noorani had earlier approached Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association, which had directed Dutt to pay Rs2 crore to Noorani for the loss incurred during the shooting.

As the filmstar did not pay the money, Noorani approached the Bombay High Court and prayed for execution of the order passed by IMPPA. In 2010, the High Court ordered attachment of two properties of the 53-year-old actor.

Noorani alleged that soon after the HC order, he started getting threating phone calls which were traced to Dubai and Karachi after which he filed a criminal case.

Dutt’s lawyer refuted allegations that the calls had been made at his client’s behest and claimed he had been falsely implicated. Merchant said calls were made in 2011 and Noorani may have engineered the calls after visiting Pakistan.

Suicide notes are not gospel truth: Kanda’s lawyer

Seeking anticipatory bail, former Haryana minister Gopal Goyal Kanda, wanted in connection with the suicide of former flight attendant Geetika Sharma, told the Delhi High Court on Tuesday that suicide notes cannot be taken as “gospel truth”.

“Suicide letters are written in anger and so any allegations can be levelled out of anger,” said senior advocate KTS Tusli, who is representing Kanda. He said the suicide notes left behind by Geetika could not be taken as gospel truth.

The young woman was found hanging from the ceiling of her house here on the night of Aug 4-5.

She left behind two suicide notes, blaming Kanda and Aruna Chaddha, senior executive in Kanda’s group now under arrest, for her suicide.

“I may be fond of her, she may be fond of me but that does not mean I incite her to commit suicide,” Tulsi said defending Kanda.

He said some other evidence was required to hold Kanda responsible for Geetika’s suicide.

“The reason given by trial court while dismissing anticipatory bail were that there was misuse of power by me, I have given preferential treatment to Geetika and I exploited her, but these are not offences under offence of abetment for commission of suicide,” Tulsi said.

He said Geetika was an ambitious girl and suicide was not in her mind.

“Even her mother and brother did not know she could commit suicide, how could I know,” Tulsi argued on Kanda’s behalf.

Appearing for Delhi Police, Additional Solicitor General Sidharth Luthra opposed Kanda’s anticipatory bail plea.

Kanda’s anticipatory bail plea was dismissed Aug 9 by a sessions court that said allegations against him were grave and serious and his bail plea had no merit.

Kanda was booked for abetment to Geetika’s suicide and criminal intimidation. He is yet to appear before Delhi Police for questioning.

Kanda began his career as a petty businessman and later became a millionaire property dealer. He floated MDLR Airlines in 2007.

He was elected to the Haryana assembly as an independent from Sirsa in October 2009. He joined the Congress-led government headed of Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

Court reserves order on Kanda’s anticipatory bail plea

The Delhi High Court Tuesday reserved its order on the anticipatory bail plea of former Haryana minister Gopal Goyal Kanda, wanted in connection with the suicide of former flight attendant Geetika Sharma.

Justice P.K. Bhasin reserved the order after counsel appearing for Kanda and Delhi Police concluded their arguments.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sidharth Luthra, appearing for police, sought Kanda’s custodial interrogation to find out the conspiracy between him and co-accused Aruna Chaddha, senior executive in Kanda’s group now under arrest.

Senior advocate K.T.S. Tusli, who represented Kanda, sought anticipatory bail for him and said suicide notes left behind by Geetika could not be taken as gospel truth.

“Suicide letters are written in anger and so any allegations can be levelled out of anger,” he said.

Luthra said Kanda’s questioning was needed to access his computers and laptops which were missingfrom his office.

Opposing Kanda’s anticipatory bail plea, the ASG said: “The conduct of not joining the investigation, removal of all electronic items, including his laptop and his computers from office, is a case for refusal of anticipatory bail.”

“We have a problem in investigation. When we went to Kanda’s office, there were no computers,” police counsel told the court.

The ASG urged the court to dismiss the anticipatory bail plea of Kanda as he had been absconding despite a notice served upon him to join the investigation.

He said that the investigation was at a preliminary stage and custodial interrogation was necessary.

Seeking anticipatory bail for Kanda, Tulsi said that some other evidence was required to hold Kanda responsible for Geetika’s suicide.

“I may be fond of her, she may be fond of me but that does not mean I incite her to commit suicide,” Kanda’s counsel said.

“The reasons given by the trial court while dismissing anticipatory bail were that there was misuse of power by me, I have given preferential treatment to Geetika and I exploited her, but these are not offences under offence of abetment for commission of suicide,” Tulsi said.

Geetika, who worked in Kanda’s group, was found hanging from the ceiling of her house here on the night of Aug 4-5.

She left behind two suicide notes, blaming Kanda and Chaddha for her suicide.

Kanda’s anticipatory bail plea was dismissed Aug 9 by a sessions court that said allegations against him were grave and serious and his bail plea had no merit.

The former Haryana minister was booked for abetment to Geetika’s suicide and criminal intimidation. He is yet to appear before Delhi Police for questioning.

Kanda moves Delhi High Court for anticipatory bail

Absconding former Haryana minister Gopal Goyal Kanda, wanted in connection with the suicide of former flight attendant Geetika Sharma, Monday moved the Delhi High Court seeking anticipatory bail.

The matter will come up for hearing Tuesday.

On Aug 9, Kanda’s anticipatory bail plea was dismissed by a sessions court that said allegations against him were grave and serious in nature and that his application was without merit.

Kanda, who owned the MDLR Airlines where the 23-year-old Geetika was earlier employed, was booked for abetment to her suicide and criminal intimidation.

Kanda, former minister of state for home in Haryana, has been on the run since.

Geetika hanged herself in her north Delhi’s Ashok Vihar house Aug 5 and left behind a suicide note, blaming Kanda for her extreme step. Her autopsy report Friday confirmed there was no foul play.