Delhi court grants bail to rape accused, slams police for not conducting ‘substantive investigation’

A Delhi court while granting bail to a man accused of raping a Mumbai-based TV artist and model after spiking her drink with drugs, slammed the police for not conducting a “substantive investigation” and instead taking statements of witnesses as as “gospel truth”.

Additional Sessions Judge Vijay Kumar Jha was hearing the regular bail of the accused, who was running a business of repairing consumer appliances here.

According to the prosecution, the man raped the victim on March 22 after spiking her drink. After that incident, he made physical relations with her on several occasions on the pretext of marriage, it said.

ASJ Jha noted that the complainant’s recorded statement had “significant improvements or contradictions” vis-a-vis the original FIR. Also, the police did not independently verify or confirm the facts as alleged by the complainant, he said.

The judge said the complainant’s mother, who was a “crucial witness,” was not examined.

He said, “The ordinary meaning of the word investigation is the examination of facts about a situation, crime, etc., however, the modus operandi of investigation in the present case is that the statements of the witnesses have been taken by the investigating officer (IO) as gospel truth and there is no substantive investigation of any kind.”

In an order passed on Tuesday, the court said, without conducting an “effective investigation”, the IO had drawn her own conclusions about the man’s guilt, based on the complainant’s statement.

“What the IO was required to do was to investigate each and every material fact which had been alleged by the complainant indicating towards the commission of any offence by the applicant (accused) or his innocence…,” it said.

Underlining that witnesses could lie but not the circumstances, the court said the investigation in the case should have examined several aspects pertaining to the allegations, beginning from where the soft drink was purchased, what happened to the bottle, whether the drink was given in a glass, what kind of drugs could be given in the cold drink, source of the drug and whether the drug could still be traced out by forensic examination.

It said the statements of witnesses in the present case were not relevant to the material facts regarding the alleged offence.

Noting that the complainant’s medical examination was not conducted because of the delay in lodging the FIR, the court said apart from the “mere allegations”, there was no tangible or corroborative evidence.

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“The law is that a rape victim’s testimony needs no corroboration and that the testimony of a rape victim if believed by the court to be true is sufficient to convict the accused,” the judge said.

“However, this legal principle is for the court and not for the investigating agency and it does not mean that the statement given by the rape victim is sufficient enough to file the charge sheet. Had it been so the investigating agency would have been excused from their responsibility to investigate rape cases,” the judge added.

It said despite the charge of rape being a heinous offence, the investigation was conducted in “a very lackadaisical manner,” and this was “pinching the conscience of the court.”

“The court is inclined to allow the application in hand as there is no merit in any of the grounds on which the present bail application has been opposed to by the IO and prosecutrix,” the judge said.

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