The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has opposed the bail application of seven convicts in the 2002 Bilkis Bano gang-rape and murder of her family members case, stating that minor contradictions in her statements should be overlooked in view of the trauma she underwent.
The Bombay high court (HC) on Friday reserved the order in common bail application filed by seven convicts — Ramesh Chandana, Bipin Joshi, Keshar Vahonia, Pradeep Modia, Bakabhai Vahonia, Rajubhai Soni and Mitesh Bhatt, who were sentenced to life imprisonment by a Special CBI court in Mumbai on January 2008. Their appeal against the conviction has been admitted by the HC and is pending. DN Salvi, CBI counsel, said that Bilkis was under lot of trauma. “Considering her mental state, minor contradictions in her statements should not be looked into,” said Salvi.
Counsels for the convicts — senior advocate Harshad Ponda and advocate Mangesh Pawar — argued that the investigating agency has mainly relied on evidence to connect them with the alleged offence. Apart from that there is no corroboration.
Also, the statement given by Bilkis is not reliable and full of contradiction, said Pawar. He also said that one of the witnesses, Saddam, was not present at the site of incident.
Pawar said that all the seven have been behind bars since their arrest in 2002.