Six students, arrested for allegedly raping a 23-year-old American student of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) last year, were acquitted on Wednesday by a court due to lack of evidence.
The Sewree Fast Track Court, while acquitting the six, observed that the evidence of the victim — a gender and development student who had come to India in October 2008 — is not credible and she is not a "wholly reliable" witness.
"In the absence of corroborative evidence, the prosecution has failed to establish the case against the accused beyond reasonable doubt," Principal Judge S.D. Jagmalani observed.
Vinamra Soni (21), Harshvardhan Yadav (22), Jashkaran Bhullar (20), Anish Borkataki (21), Dev Colabawala (21) Kundanraj Borgohain (22) were acquitted after the court gave them the benefit of doubt.
The court observed that though the prosecution had claimed she was given a spiked drink after which she became unconscious and was raped by the six men, it found that she had been making phone calls.
"How was she making the phone calls if she was unconscious," asked Judge Jagmalani.
The court also relied on the medical report, which did not establish rape, while ordering release of the six accused.
According to the prosecution, the woman was allegedly raped by the six accused at Borgohain’s flat at Yari road in Andheri (West) late night of April 12, last year.
The Trombay police had said that night the accused first met the victim at Café XO bar in Chembur and later took her to Borgohain’s flat. The victim had told the police that when she woke up she had realized that she had been sexually abused.
The police filed a chargesheet in July last year after which charges were framed against the six accused on January 7 this year.
Advocate Mahrukh Adenwala, who had appeared on behalf of the victim, said: "We will first go through the court's detailed order and will then decide the course of action."