After spending three years in jail as an undertrial, a 23-driver was cleared by a special court of rape charges on a 14-year-old, with the girl testifying before the court last year that he had expressed his love for her, but not sexually assaulted her.
Arrested at the age of 20, following a complaint filed at the Sakinaka police station by the minor’s mother in end-2018, the youth had been denied bail twice in the past years - in Jan 2019 and Aug 2021.
The court had considered the statement of the minor in the police complaint and found the gravity and nature of the offence serious as she was 14-year-old. It had also opined while denying him the relief, that there was prima facie material against him and that he may abscond if released on bail.
In its judgment acquitting him on Jan 11, a special court under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act in Dindoshi noted that he has been in jail and be released immediately. Special Judge SM Takalikar stated the prosecution had failed to prove the allegations against him beyond a reasonable doubt.
“There is nothing on record to show that the accused has committed forcible sexual intercourse,” the court said, adding that the victim, who is the material witness, had not supported the prosecution’s case.
Deposing before the court last year when she was 17, the girl had told it that the youth, who she was acquainted with, had expressed his love for her and his wish to marry her. She denied that any sexual assault had taken place. She was cross-examined by the prosecution, but had not supported its case, the court noted.
The girl’s mother had filed the complaint against the youth stating that she had woken up in the middle of the night on Sept 3, 2018, and could not find her daughter. Thereafter, upon a search, she was found at his home. Her parents had enquired with her, but she had not revealed anything.
Seven days later, the complaint said, the mother took her into confidence and that the girl had revealed that the youth had called her out on a pretext and then forcibly taken her to his home and raped her.