Odisha rape accused marries victim in jail after agreement in court

A 32-year-old man accused of raping a 22-year-old woman in Odisha last year married her following a court order, an official said on Thursday.
By Priya Ranjan Sahu | Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar
UPDATED ON JAN 29, 2015 03:59 PM IST

A 32-year-old man accused of raping a 22-year-old woman in Odisha last year married the victim on Wednesday following an agreement between them and their families in a Bhubaneswar court, an official said on Thursday.

The wedding was solemnised as per Hindu rituals at Bhubaneswar's Jharpada jail where Dilip Behera, the accused, was lodged as an under trial prisoner, in the presence of family members, advocates of both parties and jail officials.

"We organised the marriage after receiving instructions from the court," additional director general of prison Pradeep Kapur said.

Last week Behera told the court of additional session judge he wished to marry the victim. Behera's lawyer Prafulla Kumar Sahoo said his client repented his act and wanted to give social recognition to the victim.

On January 22, additional session judge Ananda Chandra Behera heard the joint petition by both the families and directed the jail authorities to organise the wedding on January 28.

"The judge observed that both the accused and the victim had fundamental rights to marriage that could not be taken away," Sahoo said.

The court also directed the authorities to produce evidence of marriage, including wedding photographs and CDs, on January 30 for further action.

"I agreed to the proposal after I was convinced that he would take good care of me. Besides, marriage will give us social sanction," the woman said after the wedding.

The woman may be required to file a petition for Behera's release, family members said.

The process of Behera's release will start after the CD and wedding photos are produced in the court.

On January 23 last year, Behera, a truck driver, offered the woman a lift while she was waiting for a bus on the outskirts of the city to go to her village. He raped her after taking her to a secluded place.

He was arrested by police few days later following a complaint by her and had been in judicial custody since then.

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