On hunger strike to prove innocence, rape accused denied access to lawyer

Mumbai : Raj alias Harishankar Awadh Shukla (35), who is presently lodged at the Thane central jail, has written a letter to the Prime Minister, President, Chief Minister of Maharashtra and the Director General (Prisons), Maharashtra, alleging that he was falsely implicated in a rape case. Shukla has been jailed on charges of raping a 13-year-old minor girl at MGM High School at Navi Mumbai.

The letter has also been forwarded to the Navi Mumbai Police Commissioner, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Home Minister of India, National Human Rights Commission and State Human Rights Commission. As per the letter, written on September 15 (a copy of which is with FPJ), “I have been falsely implicated in the rape case. The victim was two months pregnant in the month of October 2016 and was a student of my school while I was suspended from the job in April 2016. My DNA report is negative which clearly states that I am excluded to be the father of the biological child of the victim.” Harishankar is also open to a narco-test and lie detector test.

Harishankar has further alleged that the victim’s mother threatened him over phone. The recording of this call has been submitted to the court. Even in the doctor’s statement the victim and her mother named the victim’s cousin as the one responsible for her pregnancy. This too has been submitted to the court. The sonography reports also show that the foetus was at 8 weeks during the time Harishankar was there at the school between July 20 and Aug 10, 2016,  when the alleged incident is said to have occurred. “There is not a single witness against me mentioned in the chargesheet. My mobile location also shows that during the last week of July to August 10, 2016, I was in another city,” stated the letter.

Speaking to the Free Press Journal, Anjali Shukla (35), wife of Harishankar,  also blamed the minor girl’s cousin for this entire episode.

To add to Harishankar ‘s predicament, he has been denied access to his lawyer. Speaking to the Free Press Journal, Shukla’s advocate Siddh Vidya confirmed he has been prevented from meeting his client. “I had visited the jail on two occasions but I was not allowed to meet him citing the meeting hours were over. The matter is pending before the court,” said Vidya. Speaking of the DNA report, Vidya said, “It specifically states he is not the father of the girl. Ideally, the police should have sent the report for another test or they should have searched for the accused who is responsible for the act.” The lawyer had filed an application for a second DNA test on August 2. “My client is ready for another DNA test but his only contention is that the DNA test has been prolonged which violates his right to liberty,” said Vidya.

According to Nitin Vayachal, Superintendent of Police, Thane jail, “Nobody has been allowed to meet the accused as per the rules. We are strictly following the jail manual in this matter. I have not received any official letter from the relatives of the accused or the accused himself.” Shukla’s wife, meanwhile, has alleged the jail authorities are trying to end his fast.

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Free Press Journal