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Posted at: Apr 16, 2018, 2:06 PM; last updated: Apr 16, 2018, 8:54 PM (IST)

Danish woman gang-rape: HC upholds life term of five rapists

Danish woman gang-rape: HC upholds life term of five rapists
The HC pulled up the investigating officer for not conducting a proper investigation. File photo

New Delhi, April 16 

The Delhi High Court on Monday upheld the sentence of life imprisonment till death awarded to five convicts for gang-raping a 52-year-old Danish woman here in 2014, saying the most important scientific evidence, the DNA report, has proven their guilt.

The court, however, took a serious view over the lapse of the investigating officer (IO) in not preparing a proper site-plan of the place of the crime, saying this was “very important” as it is very rare that there are witnesses to such crimes other than the victim.

A Bench of Justices S Muralidhar and IS Mehta noted that the foreigner was raped for five hours and said if she was raped in a secluded area among the bushes, the IO has to satisfy himself by standing at the mud hill of the construction area to see if the crime spot was visible and “this basic exercise of reconstruction of the crime scene was not done”.

The high court dismissed the appeal of the convicts challenging their conviction and jail term awarded by a trial court in 2016.

The trial court had awarded the maximum punishment while making it clear that rigorous imprisonment for life means jail till remainder of natural life of the convicts—Mahender alias Ganja (25), Mohd Raja (23), Raju (23), Arjun (21) and Raju Chakka (30).

The court had also imposed a fine of Rs 81,000 each on Raju and Raju Chakka, Rs 91,000 each on Mahender and Mohd Raja and Rs 1,01,000 on Arjun respectively.

It said the testimony of the victim and the DNA report, which was a “clinching” piece of evidence, have nailed the guilt of the convicts.

“In view of the victim’s evidence, corroborated by the DNA report, this court his satisfied that the conclusion of the trial court on the guilt of the accused is correct. Accordingly, the appeals are dismissed,” the Bench said.        

The high court, meanwhile, rejected the testimony of an eyewitness, who claimed to have seen the accused persons committing the crime, saying he could not be accepted as a natural witness.

It said the witness claimed to be standing at the construction site and seeing the crime but the site plan prepared by the police showed the construction side and did not indicate the spot where the man was supposed to be seen standing. Even the witness was not questioned on this aspect in the trial court, the Bench said.

“Carelessness of the IO is seen in undertaking the investigation of the case,” it said.

During the hearing, advocate Amit Chadha, appearing for the Delhi Police, said the DNA of all the accused had matched with the samples taken from other articles belonging to the victim in Denmark’s Copenhagen and India and the woman was examined in the trial court over 18 months after the incident, so some indulgence must be granted.

The court rejected the contention of the counsel for the convicts that the prosecution had manipulated the evidence under media pressure and said the DNA profile connected the convicts with the crime and there was also a similarity in the forensic report sent by Denmark authorities with the DNA report prepared in India.

The victim had come here on January 1, 2014, and stayed for a couple of days before leaving for Agra. After visiting several places, she returned to Delhi on January 13, 2014, and stayed in a hotel in Paharganj near the station.

The next day when she was returning to her hotel, she lost her way and had asked one of the accused for directions when the men waylaid and gang-raped her. — PTI

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