US tourist’s gang rape: Court pulls up lawyers, grants bail to three accused
The woman had alleged that the guide, who befriended her while showing her tourist spots in India, entered her room in the hotel with his friends to discuss the following day’s itinerary and raped her.delhi Updated: Jun 10, 2017 16:48 IST
A Delhi court on Wednesday granted bail to three men, who were accused of gang-raping a 23-year-old US woman in a five-star hotel near Connaught Place in April last year.
While granting bail to the accused — tourist guide Aniruddha Singh, driver Om Prakash and cleaner Maqsood Khan — the court observed that since the alleged victim is in the US, there is no threat of the accused influencing her.
The fourth accused, hotel staffer Vivek, was granted bail earlier.
The court also pulled up the lawyers of the victim and the accused for their way of handling the case.
Police had earlier informed the court that as per the report of a forensic laboratory in Hyderabad, videos of the alleged gang rape could not be retrieved from the hotel’s CCTV and cellphone of the main accused, who had allegedly recorded the act.
During the previous hearing, the victim’s lawyer had moved an application seeking to send the CCTV footage to a foreign laboratory for further investigation.
On Wednesday, Additional Sessions Judge Anu Grover Baliga asked the victim’s counsel about the technology and foreign laboratory that he was referring to in his application. The counsel submitted that he does not have the technical know-how to suggest a laboratory or technology that will have to be used. The judge rebuked the counsel for putting in an application without researching.
“You said there is technology available abroad (to retrieve the footage), but now you say you don’t know about what technology that is, and which laboratory has it,” the judge said.
The court also pulled up the lawyer of one of the accused for submitting in the previous hearing that even if something were to be recorded in the external memory card of a phone, an analysis of the internal memory card will be sufficient to retrieve it.
“You tried to mislead the court, (in the last hearing) you had said that whatever goes to external memory card goes through internal memory card. But it is not so. You should have googled it up, and found out the facts before making such submissions. It is possible to store things in external card directly, which cannot be retrieved by mere analysis of internal memory card,” the judge said.
The crime was reported in October, and an FIR was registered on December 3. After the woman came to Delhi and recorded her statement, the four men were called in for questioning and arrested.
The woman had alleged that the guide, who befriended her while showing her tourist spots in India, entered her room in the hotel with his friends to discuss the following day’s itinerary.
They allegedly offered the woman water mixed with sedatives and raped her. She accused them of raping her the next day too and threatening her with dire consequences if the matter was reported. The suspects allegedly made a video, which they threatened to make public.
The police have charge-sheeted the accused persons for the offences punishable under IPC Sections 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 328 (causing hurt by means of poison, etc, with intent to commit an offence), 376D (gang rape), 377 (unnatural offences), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention).
The court will now hear the victim’s plea on July 4.