Former member of the parliament (MP) from Karnataka Ravikant Patil walked free after the Supreme Court upheld his acquittal in a case of kidnapping, wrongful confinement and rape of a college student in 1999.
The apex court was hearing an appeal filed by the Maharashtra government challenging Patil’s acquittal by the Bombay high court on September 9, 2004. Referring to the case put forth by the prosecution, a division bench of justice VS Sirpurkar and justice TS Thakur observed, “The (Bombay) high court has not erred in coming to the conclusion that the whole prosecution story was a myth,” before adding that the high court order was “perfectly justifiable”.
According to the prosecution, in 1999, Patil had proposed marriage to Nafisa (name changed), who was then a third year computer-engineering student at Walchand Institute of Technology, Solapur. However, her parents declined his proposal.
Public prosecutor UB Dube said that following the rejection, Patil threatened and brought Nafisa’s family to Mumbai on May 5, 1999. He converted to Islam and the nikah (marriage) was performed in the presence of a kazi (priest) the next day.
Dube said that after the nikah, Patil took Nafisa to Khandala, Mysore and Hyderabad, where he allegedly raped her. He argued that since Nafisa had not consented to the nikah, Patil’s actions amounted to rape. Patil was arrested soon after Nafisa lodged a complaint against him.
Sushil Karanjkar, advocate for Patil, argued that Nafisa’s family had made their own travel arrangements and had come to Mumbai by train – without any assistance – indicating that they were attending the marriage on their own accord. He also asked why the family had not registered a complaint after claiming they were “forced” to come to Mumbai for the nikah.
Further, Karanjkar pointed out that Patil had filed an affidavit wherein he stated that he had willingly converted to Islam. Even the Kazi had given a statement to that effect.
Asserting that there was a valid nikah nama (marriage document), Karanjkar said that Patil had also given Rs2.5 lakh as Mehar (wedding gift) to Nafisa.