‘Victim’ backtracks in rape case against ex-Akali minister Sucha Singh Langah: ‘I am not in the video’
Langah was booked on September 29 last year, 11 days ahead of the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha bypoll that the state’s ruling Congress won against SAD’s ally BJP.Updated: Mar 01, 2018 10:06 IST
In what could lead to the rape and extortion case against former Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) minister Sucha Singh Langah falling flat, the complainant on Wednesday backtracked, telling the court that she was not the woman in the video that is at the core of the matter, and that police had pressured her to levy the charges.
Langah, 61, a former MLA from Dera Baba Nanak segment in Gurdaspur district, was booked on on September 29 last year, 11 days ahead of the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha bypoll that the state’s ruling Congress won against SAD’s ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). It hit the SAD-BJP alliance, which had lost the assembly polls in February last year, hard because Langah was considered its backbone in the region.
The FIR said the woman, who is a police constable, charged Langah with raping her repeatedly since 2009 using his influence as a top leader of the SAD, which later ousted him as she had even submitted a CD with a 20-minute video showing Langah having sex purportedly with her. She had also accused Langah of selling her properties using his political pressure.
On Wednesday, though, according to a police officer present there, she told the court of additional district and sessions judge, Gurdaspur: “I am not in the CD that was attached with my forged complaint. This CD has been tempered with by using my face. Rather, the entire complaint is baseless and is a police theory.”
She said she was made to sign a blank paper by police that was later used to make up the complaint, even though the FIR said she had gone to Gurdaspur’s senior superintendent of police (SSP), HS Bhullar, with a complaint and the CD. She claimed that said she’d been threatened to give the statement about the allegations before a magistrate, which had made it further admissible as proof.
She denied having known Langah personally, though her written statement earlier said she was a former classmate of Langah’s daughter. “She told the court that she knew my client as a politician only, through posters and banners,” Langah’s lawyer Santokh Singh Basra told HT.
Langah, in light of the allegations, had not only been thrown out of the SAD but, since he was also member of the top Sikh organisation Shiormani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the temporal seat Akal Takht excommunicated him from the community. After absconding for days, he had surrendered at the Gurdaspur court on October 4, and charges were framed on February 14 under sections 376 (rape), 384 (extortion), 420 (cheating) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.
Meanwhile, Langah has applied for bail at the Punjab and Haryana high court that is to be heard on March 5.
The district deferred the trial hearing to March 12.
What now? ‘Have proof, CD forensically proved genuine’
Even as Langah’s counsel was confident that charges against him will fall flat after Wednesday’s backtracking by the complainant, police officers said they have “enough evidences” to prove the charges.
“The CD has been forensically verified and the woman with Langah in it is the complainant herself,” said a deputy superintendent of police at Gurdaspur, not willing to be named. “Moreover, the statement made before a magistrate under section 164 of the CrPC are recorded when only the judge and the complaint are in court. All these are issues that would be discussed too.”
Timeline: Case so far
Sept 28, 2017: A woman police constable meets SSP of Gurdaspur with a complaint of rape against former Akali minister Sucha Singh Langah and a 20-minute video showing Langah having sex purportedly with her
Sept 29: Gurdaspur police register FIR of rape and extortion
Oct 2: Langah tries to surrender at Chandigarh but court asks him to surrender in Gurdaspur; he vanishes from court before police arrive
Oct 4: Langah surrenders at Gurdaspur court; sent to police remand
Feb 14, 2018: Charges framed against Langah under sections 376 (rape), 384 (extortion), 420 (cheating) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC
Feb 28: Complainant backtracks from her allegations
First Published: Feb 28, 2018 21:19 IST