Solapur resident Shivakumar Bijjargi can breathe easy after the Bombay high court recently acquitted him of charges of kidnapping and inducing a woman to marry, 19 years ago.
Justice RC Chavan acquitted Bijjargi and his two friends, Sandeep Kungulwar and Rachappa Shabagi, who allegedly helped him elope with his lover in February 1992.
While acquitting him early this month, justice Chavan observed: “Considering the evidence given by the prosecutrix (girl) herself, it cannot be said that Bijjargi or any other appellant had enticed her or had made her leave custody of her parents on any promise to marry.”
Bijjargi and his two friends had approached the high court challenging the one-month sentence imposed by the sessions court in Solapur. Bijjargi and the girl, who was born on November 13, 1974, studied in the same school.
The girl’s family arranged her marriage with another man in 1992. On the morning of February 10, 1992, she called Bijjargi to meet and they decided to elope to Pune. They then went to Ahmednagar and Osmanabad before returning to Solapur where they were apprehended by the police. Kungulwar and Shabagi were arrested for helping the couple.
Madhav Thorat and KY Mandalik, advocates for the trio, argued that the girl had deposed before the trial court that she knew Bijjargi and loved him.
“She had told the trial court that she eloped since she did not want to marry the person her parents had chosen,” argued Thorat.
Raising question over the conviction, justice Chavan said: “It is not clear as to why the learned (sessions) judge should have, in the face of categoric admissions of the prosecutrix (girl), chosen to convict the appellants for the offence punishable under Sections 363 and 366 read with Section 34 of the IPC.”