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.

Tarun Tejpal must face trial in sexual assault case: Goa Police to Supreme Court

The Goa Police claimed in the Supreme Court on Tuesday that there were “contemporaneous” WhatsApp messages and e-mails which showed that Tehelka magazine’s founder Tarun Tejpal should face trial in an alleged sexual assault case lodged against him by a former woman colleague.

The police, while opposing Tejpal’s plea seeking quashing of charges framed against him, told a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra that there was “ample material” warranting trial in the case.

Tejpal’s counsel refuted the allegations and told the bench, also comprising Justices M R Shah and B R Gavai, that certain WhatsApp messages were concealed and referred to CCTV footage of the hotel where the alleged incident took place.

The bench, after hearing the submissions, reserved its order on Tejpal’s plea seeking quashing of charges framed against him.

Tejpal is alleged to have sexually assaulted the former colleague inside the elevator of a five-star hotel in Goa in 2013.

He has denied all the allegations levelled against him. He was arrested on November 30, 2013 by the Crime Branch after his anticipatory bail plea was rejected by the court. He has been out on bail since May 2014.

He has moved the apex court challenging the Bombay High Court’s December 20, 2017 order dismissing his plea seeking quashing of charges.

During the hearing, senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for Tejpal, referred to earlier judgements of the apex court to buttress his arguments that charges should be quashed.

“We have to see the facts of a particular case,” the bench said, adding, “Criminal law depends on facts of a case”.

The bench also questioned Singh as to why Tejpal had sent apologies to the woman after the alleged incident.

Singh, while referring to CCTV footage of the hotel, said that anybody can make allegations that such incident has happened in the lift.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the police, referred to an earlier apex court verdict and said that even strong suspicion in a criminal case is enough to frame charges.

“Not only the statement of the prosecutrix (woman), the case is supported by contemporaneous WhatsApp messages and e-mails which show that this is a case where the accused must face the trial,” Mehta said.

“There are ample materials in the form of contemporaneous e-mails also,” he told the bench.

Earlier, Tejpal had claimed that there were certain inconsistencies in the video recordings and the statements of the victim recorded under section 164 of CrPC before the magistrate.

The trial court in Mapusa town of Goa had framed charges against Tejpal under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including alleged sexual harassment and provisions related to rape.

Delay in Courts Trial pushing Victims of Sexual Assault to out of Court Settlement with Accused

In one of the most disturbing testimonies during the trial in Yeroor case, the seven-year-old victim was heard asking Mama nammal engotta pone (uncle, where are we going)? to the man who brutally raped & murdered her.

She seemed happy & carefree & they were about to enter the forest mouth. Her question, so full of innocence & trust, made the entire court tear-up & it was just one of the many emotionally charged moments during the trial.

G. Mohanraj, who appeared for the prosecution, says it was a trust vs lust scenario & as in many cases the accused was a member of the immediate family, living in the same premises.

The child was handed over by her grandmother when he, a close relative, offered to drop her at school. Unaware of the impending doom, the child walked hand-in-hand with the man to a nearby forest where she was sexually abused.

The 25-year-old man was immediately nabbed & his DNA matched with that found in the girl’s body. “During the trial the entire village stood by the family. It was really heart-warming to see the way they expressed their solidarity by supporting the mother through the entire legal proceedings,” Mr. Mohanraj says.

The girl was murdered on 27 September 2017 & it took nearly two years for the Kollam Additional Sessions (POCSO) court to award the convict triple life term, 26 years of rigorous imprisonment, & a fine of ₹3.2 lakh. Yet, it is considered one of the fastest convictions, taking into account the pendency of many POCSO cases.

“The accused was arrested immediately but there was considerable delay in getting the forensic reports due to the backlog. Though the POCSO Act mandates disposal of the appeal in six months, it is not always practical,” says Mr. Mohanraj.

And this delay in disposal often leads to out-of-court settlements & acquittal as the victim & family refuse to revisit the trauma after a gap.

“It takes some two to three years for the trial to start in some cases. There are girls who get married by the time & they prefer not to appear before the court. When they get the summons they try to settle it somehow as they feel going ahead with the case will affect their family life,” says G.Suhothran, public prosecutor, who has handled over 200 POCSO cases since March 2018. In many cases, the perpetrators go absconding & by the time they are arrested & the case comes before the court, the victim & family will not be ready to face it.

“About 90% of the parents want the case to end due to the stigma associated, so they will turn hostile at the time of trial & refuse to support the prosecution,” he adds.

Supreme Court dismisses Asaram Bapu’s bail plea in sexual assault case in Gujarat

The Supreme Court Monday dismissed the bail plea of self-styled preacher Asaram Bapu in connection with a sexual assault case lodged against him in Gujarat.

A bench headed by Justice N V Ramana was informed by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Gujarat government, that the trial in the case was going on and 210 witnesses were yet to be examined.

The bench, while dismissing the bail plea, said the lower court will proceed with the trial and will not be influenced by the prima facie observations given by the Gujarat High Court earlier while dismissing Asaram’s plea.

Two Surat-based sisters had lodged separate complaints against Asaram and his son Narayan Sai accusing them of rape and illegal confinement among other charges.

Court asks sr cop to sensitise juniors in sexual offence cases

A senior Delhi Police officer has been directed by a city court to sensitise its officials to prudently deal with cases of sexual assault and adhere to the mandates of higher courts.

Metropolitan Magistrate Abhilash Malhotra passed the direction while pulling up the police for not complying with its order to assess the threat perception and provide security to an alleged rape victim, who is now missing.

“It is very strange that in a case where the court has ordered to assess threat perception and provide security to the complainant/rape victim, she is now missing,” the court said, adding the officials had given a “deaf ear” to its order.

The court also directed the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) concerned to look into the issue and file a status report before it on July 31.

“The DCP is also directed to sensitise the officers to deal with cases of sexual assault with prudence and keeping in view the mandates given by the higher courts,” it said.

The court was hearing a complaint filed by a woman alleging that she was raped, illegally confined and threatened by the accused persons. The court had then called for a status report from the police.

During the first hearing in the court, the woman sought to withdraw her complaint without giving any reason, which prompted the court to direct the police to assess the threat perception and provide necessary security to her.

On March 23, the additional DCP of north district filed a report stating that the woman could not be contacted as she was not found residing at her given address and her mobile phone was also switched off.

The court, however, noted that on the same day, another sub-inspector filed a separate report before it stating that the woman gave a written statement to him claiming that she had given the complaint under some pressure and her signatures were taken on a blank paper to falsely implicate the accused.

When she came to know that she was being misused, she moved an application in the court to stop legal proceedings.

The court noted that the reports filed by the two police officials were “absolutely contradictory”.

“In his report, the additional DCP is informing the court that the complainant is not traceable, whereas to the contrary the sub inspector recorded the hand-written statement of the complainant and placed it before the court.

“It is not understood that when the complainant was traceable, why threat assessment was not done as directed by the court on March 22,” the magistrate said in its order.

The court said it was clear that the conduct on the part of the two officials has remained “negligent”.

“Sexual assault on TN tribal women by police likely”

"Sexual assault on TN tribal women by police likely"
“Sexual assault on TN tribal women by police likely”

Nearly five years after the alleged rape of four tribal women by police in Tamil Nadu, a report of a Judicial Magistrate filed today in Madras High Court said there are reasons to believe that they were sexually assaulted, but not raped.

The report of the Judicial Magistrate Thirukovilur in Villupuram District stated the medical reports did not suggest rape on the four women of the Irular tribal community.

“There are reasons to believe that sexual assault had occurred on the women by the police personnel who had taken them,” the Magistrate’s report filed by the Government Pleader said.

It also stated that the enquiry with the victims revealed that police personnel who took them for questioning had asked them to remove their clothes. When they refused, the police allegedly removed them forcibly and molested them.

The report was filed in connection with the alleged incident of police personnel of Thirukovilur in Villupuram District raping tribal women after taking them in a jeep on November 22, 2011 for an enquiry though they were not required in any case.

It said no woman police accompanied the police team when the women were taken to a police station. Though rape was not confirmed, the victims’ statements, evidence of witnesses and circumstances lead to conclude and believe that sexual assault was done on victims, it said.

The report was filed when a Public Interest Litigation petition of advocate P Pugalenthi, came up for hearing before the court.

The petition had sought transfer of probe to the CBI and suspension of policemen involved in the alleged crime.

Last month, the court had wondered how the magistrate’s report did not reach the Investigating Officer.It directed the Villupuram principal district judge to examine the issue and send a report to it.

Today the court directed the Registrar-Vigilance to look into the non-performance of the Judicial Magistrate- Thirukovilur over the cause of delay and submit a report.

It posted the matter for further hearing to November 7 and directed the government pleader to get instruction from the Investigation officer on the report and also submit details of the fate of police officers involved in the case.

The government pleader stated that the magisterial report would be sent to the Investigation officer.

( Source – PTI )

Sexual assault: ‘Judges not to disclose victims name’

Sexual assault: 'Judges not to disclose victims name'
Sexual assault: ‘Judges not to disclose victims name’

Judicial officers should not mention the name of victims in the judgements passed in sexual assault cases and they “must avoid” disclosing the identity to protect their reputation, the Delhi High Court has said.

Justice S P Garg said this while noting that a magistrate as well as district and sessions judge had mentioned the name of victim in their orders in a molestation case.

“Before parting with the case, it is noted that in the judgement dated October 21, 2013, name of the prosecutrix/ victim has been disclosed/mentioned. The trial court was not expected to indicate the victim’s name in the judgement,” the court said.

“The mistake has been carried out by the district and sessions judge too… Presiding officers must avoid disclosing identity of the victim/prosecutrix in such cases in the judgement to protect her reputation,” it said.

The court noted it while dismissing a revision petition filed by a man challenging the legality and correctness of a July 2014 judgement passed by the district and sessions judge on his appeal against a magisterial court’s verdict convicting him for the offence under section 354 (molestation) of IPC.

The magistrate had awarded one-year jail term to the man for outraging the modesty of a seven-year-old girl in Okhla here in July 2012.

During the hearing before the high court, the counsel appearing for the man had argued that he was not challenging the findings of the conviction.

The lawyer requested the court to take a lenient view considering the fact that the man was around 70-year-old and has remained in custody for “sufficient duration”.

“Since the petitioner (man) has given up challenge to the findings on conviction, conviction under section 354 IPC stands affirmed. Besides it, there is ample evidence on record to establish petitioner’s guilt,” the court noted.

The court refused to show any leniency observing that the man was “well aware of the consequences of his act” and the victim was “like his grand-daughter”.

( Source – PTI )

Man gets 10-yr jail for sexual assault on 5-yr old girl

Man gets 10-yr jail for sexual assault on 5-yr old girl
Man gets 10-yr jail for sexual assault on 5-yr old girl

A 48-year old sanitary inspector has been sentenced to ten years rigorous imprisonment by a court here for sexual assault on a girl child in 2013.

Mahila court judge R Vijayakumari yesterday awarded the sentence to Sengottaiyan under the provisions of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and also imposed a fine of Rs 10,000.

According to the prosecution, the accused had lured the five-year-old girl, his neighbour, by offering chocolate and sexually assaulted her at his house in Kalvadangam village in February 2013.

On a complaint from the girl’s parents, Theyyur police had registered a case against Sengottaiyan under POCSO and arrested him.

( Source – PTI )

Court acquits youth of charges of sodomising minor

Court acquits youth of charges of sodomising minor
Court acquits youth of charges of sodomising minor

A youth accused of sodomising a 10-year-old boy has been acquitted by a Delhi court after the alleged victim failed to identify him.

Additional Sessions Judge Gautam Manan absolved the youth, a Delhi resident, of offences of sodomy and wrongful restraint under IPC and sexual assault under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

“It is held that the allegations against the accused are not proved. Accordingly, the accused stands acquitted,” the judge said, after the boy and his mother failed to identify him in court.

“Although, the victim has named the accused in his statements as the person who had sodomised him, but he failed to identify the accused as the person who did the wrong act with him,” the court said.

It also noted that the medical evidence could not prove that the boy was assaulted as he did not allege penetrative assault on him.

“There could be no conclusive medical evidence of the alleged act nor the forensic evidence can prove that alleged act was committed by the accused.

“Hence, there is no evidence on record to establish that accused committed assault on the victim especially when the boy has denied that accused sexually assaulted him,” it said.

According to prosecution, a complaint was lodged by the boy’s mother that on July 6, 2014, her son was playing in a park near his house when the accused allegedly sodomised him.

The boy raised an alarm, after which the accused fled from the spot, it said, adding that the child then went home and narrated the incident to his mother.

The accused was arrested and charge sheeted for the offences under sections 377 (sodomy) and 341 (wrongful restraint) of IPC and section 4 (sexual assault) of POCSO Act.

He had pleaded not guilty and claimed he was falsely implicated.