The Punjab and Haryana high court has dismissed a plea seeking retrial of 2003 Amritsar sex scandal involving some local politicians and cable network operators.
The high court bench of justice Kuldip Singh dismissed the plea filed by complainant justice AS Bains (retd), chairman of non-government body Punjab Human Rights Organisation, stating that purported victim women had resiled from their statements and they did not say that they were either forced and threatened by the accused and that alleged sexual intercourse was without their consent. “They were the pillars of the case and once the pillars collapsed, the case built on the said pillars also collapsed,” the high court bench said in its judgment.
The accused included Sarabjit Singh alias Raju and Hari Om Dhankua, both involved in cable business, former mayor Subhash Chander Sharma, besides Ganesh Poddar, Madan Lal Vij, Gurinder Pal Singh, JS Iqbal and lawyer Rajwinder Singh alias Raja. Initially, the case was investigated by the Punjab Police, but the high court in 2003 entrusted the matter to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). During the course of investigation, three prosecutrix were examined before different judicial magistrates, wherein they alleged rape. However, in July 2013, the special CBI court, Patiala, acquitted all the accused of charges as women resiled from their statements.
The petitioner before the high court had argued that in this case, the prosecutrix were threatened. “The trial continued for several years. The prosecutrix being poor could not withstand the pressure put forth by the accused, who are influential persons. Therefore, it has resulted in mis-trial,” the petitioner had pleaded.
“In this case, the prosecutrix being victim have not come to this court to state that they were threatened and that due to threat given by the accused, they could not make correct statement before the lower court. Rather, it comes out that the proceedings for perjury are pending against them (prosecutrix) before the lower court and even in that case also, they did not claim that they were threatened and that is why they resiled from their previous statements,” the bench recorded, further stating that the high court invervention was warranted only if it was found that judgment was perverse or illegal and evidence were misinterpreted.