Had he committed the crime two years ago, the driver of the kali-peeli (black and yellow) taxi, who allegedly beat up and sexually assaulted a woman passenger in Dwarka on Thursday night, would have escaped rape charges.
But, thanks to tougher laws passed in March 2013, accused Ramesh Kumar has been booked under charges pertaining to rape that carry harsher punishment instead of section 354 (outraging the modesty of a woman), which was earlier a bailable offence with a maximum punishment of two years and/or a fine. Now, Kumar, 40, faces up to seven years in jail.
“After amendments, section 375 clause (C) of the new anti-rape law says a man is said to commit rape if he manipulates any part of the body of the woman so as to cause penetration into… It means that the man will be charged for rape even if his attempt was not successful,” said a senior police officer.
The driver, 40, allegedly tried to rape the 32-year-old woman in the rear seat of his Maruti Eeco taxi after parking it at an isolated stretch near Rajapuri. He beat up the woman when she resisted and threatened her with dire consequences if she raised an alarm. He then got nervous after seeing a couple of passersby and decided to drop her home. He was arrested after a chase by personnel of a PCR van around 300 meters from the crime scene.
The PCR van was alerted by a scooterist who heard the woman’s screams. He had spotted the patrol van over a kilometer from the taxi, police said. Senior police officers appreciated the attentiveness of the PCR van personnel who caught the cabbie.
“We rescued the woman before the cabbie could have killed or harmed her,” an officer said adding that the medical examination of the woman was also conducted for evidence against the accused.
Kumar was sent to judicial custody on Friday while his taxi was impounded by officials of the Dwarka North police station. The traffic police have written to the Delhi transport authority seeking cancellation of his taxi license. Police have learnt that the taxi did not have a GPS system and its meter was also not functional.
The woman had boarded the cab from the Dwarka Mor Metro station to reach her home in Madhu Vihar in Dwarka.