Addendum: A reader, Malcolm, writes: "1 Lakh is 100,000 Rupees, which is equivalent to about $2,500. Absolute peanuts, even allowing for the fact that its purchasing power is significantly greater in India than the US." Thanks, Malcolm
4 men freed after 12 years of false rape accusations and harrassment.
New Delhi, May 9
The Delhi High Court Friday directed that action be taken against three police officials who falsely implicated four men in a rape case in 1997 in connivance with a sex worker and asked the government to pay compensation of Rs.1 lakh to the men who were acquitted earlier this week.
Justice S. Muralidhar acquitted the four men and asked the registrar general of the high court that a case should be made against the three police officials and be sent to the concerned court.
The court also asked the government to pay Rs.25,000 each in compensation to the four men.
The four were acquitted on Tuesday.
One of them, Pankaj Chaudhari in his plea before the court claimed that he was “paying the price for opposing a flesh trade racket near his house in 1997“.
He was arrested, along with his brother Gunjesh, and two friends Jailal Yadav and Kashim Rain, on charges of raping a neighbour, who allegedly ran a prostitution ring.
They were jailed on July 28, 1997, and then convicted for gangrape in 2000. The police then manning the Hauz Khas police station - apparently at the instance of the sex worker - decided to frame them for protesting against the racket which led to her business suffering.
Subsequently, an inquiry was ordered within the police department. The high court released the four men on bail in 2001.
“Due to allegations of rape, a stigma is attached to our names and we are facing great hardships in finding any job for our livelihood. We have been thrown out of jobs and are unable to live with dignity because we are called rapists,” they stated in their petition.
After they were convicted in 2000, their relatives alleged foul play, which led Amod Shastri, heading an NGO called Nyay Bharti, to probe the case.
Shastri’s efforts revealed that while the woman claimed she was raped at 9.30 p.m. by the four, another complaint in the same police station showed that she was arrested the same afternoon for indulging in flesh trade and let off at 10.30 p.m. on a bond of Rs.500. This indicated that she was actually at the police station at the time she claimed to have been raped at her home.