A city court on Tuesday held guilty the lone arrested accused in the Dhaula Kuan gang rape case, in which a student of the Delhi University was raped in a speeding car, lending credence to the testimony of the victim.
"The victim is not on trial and it is the accused who is on trial. Moreover, she (the victim) was consistent in all her statements," said Additional Sessions Judge Neeraj Kumar Gupta while convicting Ajit Singh Katiyar for the offence.
The court, in its 70-page verdict, relied on the unequivocal and 'consistent' statements of the 20-year-old victim, a Delhi University student from Mizoram, given to the police and during the trial. "The testimony of the victim cannot be equated with that of an accomplice and an accused can be convicted on the basis of such statements as they needed no corroboration," the verdict said while referring to various judgments of the Supreme Court.
The girl, who stood by her statement, identified Katiyar as the culprit in the test identification parade held in Tihar jail. The court will pronounce the quantum of sentence, which may extend to life imprisonment, on December 10.
The victim was abducted on May 8, 2005 while she was walking back home after buying food from a roadside eatery along with a friend, and was raped by four accused in a car near Dhaula Kuan in south Delhi.
Pronouncing the verdict in a packed courtroom, the ASJ said, "Offence of abduction, gang rape, administering stupefying drug, criminal intimidation and group liability have been proved against the accused."
The court took strong note of alleged aspersions cast on the character of the complainant during the trial by the defence counsel, saying the private life of the victim has nothing to do with the case. It also rejected the plea that the victim cannot be trusted as she did not raise an alarm when she was raped for hours by four accused in the car. The culprits, armed with a weapon, had sandwiched the victim, the court said adding that nobody can raise an alarm in such a situation.
The court, however, said police failed to arrest three co-accused -- Danda, Jat and Tappe. They were later declared proclaimed offenders during the trial. Police also could not trace the car used in the abduction and rape of the victim. A friend of the victim managed to escape from the spot, they said. She was later dumped near a local Gurudwara.
Manoj Sharma, counsel for the convict, later told mediapersons that he was not satisfied with the verdict and claimed that the police did not produce credible evidence against his client.
"I will challenge the judgment in the Delhi High Court as it appears that something wrong has been done," he said. He claimed that there were glaring discrepancies in the case as even the date and place of arrest of the accused was disputed by the policemen who deposed as witnesses.
The prosecutor hailed the verdict, saying it would send across the right message to the society.