Court acquits man accused of raping niece

A court in Maharashtra’s Thane district has acquitted a 50-year-old man who was accused of raping his niece, observing that the prosecution could not prove the charges against him.

In his order of May 12, a copy of which was made available on Thursday, Additional Sessions Judge Shaukat S Gorwade from Kalyan said the man needs to be given the benefit of doubt and set free.

As per the prosecution, the girl’s parents separated when she was five years old and she started living with her paternal aunt and the latter’s family comprising her husband (the accused) and their children.

In February 2019, when the girl was a B.Com student, the accused allegedly touched her inappropriately. He then began stalking her, sent sexually explicit messages and also made sexual advances, the court was told.

In July 2022, the accused allegedly sought sexual favours from her following which the girl informed her mother about it. They then approached the police. It was also alleged that the accused raped the girl.

In its order, the court observed that the girl “denied the incidents of outraging her modesty and advancing unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures by the accused”.

The court said, “The victim betrayed the prosecution by not leading evidence regarding the incident.”

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The screenshots on record indicate that the girl was outraged by unwelcome and improper messages, but there is no evidence on record about who sent them, said the court.

Citing a medico-legal report, the court said it “merely raises possibility of intercourse”.

“The mere possibility cannot take place of proof Therefore, though it is proved that the accused was guardian of the victim and is capable of sexual intercourse, the prosecution failed to prove that accused has committed rape on the victim ,” the court said, giving the accused benefit of the doubt.

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