New Delhi: A 59-year-old man, who was accused of raping a woman in 1999 on the pretext of marrying her, has been discharged by a Delhi court which said there was an unexplained delay of nearly eight years in lodging a FIR.
The court said neither the 47-year-old woman raised any alarm, nor did she lodge a report with the police against alleged forcible sex by the man in Rajasthan at the time of the alleged incident.
"The delay of one or two days in lodging the FIR may be bonafide, reasonable and justified in the facts and circumstances of a given case. However, in the present case, there is a delay of about eight years in lodging the FIR," Additional Sessions Judge Praveen Kumar said.
However, the court, while discharging the man, said mere delay cannot be a ground to disbelieve the entire case of the police, but the effect of delay has to be understood in light of the explanation forthcoming. It noted that even after returning to Delhi, the woman had not lodged the FIR and had approached the police only in March last year after considerable unexplained delay.
It noted that the woman was taken to hospital for medical examination in March 2016 when she lodged the FIR, but there was no medical evidence to support her version.
The court discharged the accused, saying it was of the opinion that the material placed before it does not disclose grave suspicion against the man for framing charges against him for the offenses of rape and criminal intimidation.
The woman had lodged a FIR with Palam Village police station alleging that in 1999, she had come in contact with the man who claimed to be a religious figure.
He took her to Ajmer on the pretext of performing rituals, stayed in a hotel where the accused repeatedly raped her, she alleged, adding the accused continued raping her for the next four years on the pretext of marriage and also threatened her with dire consequences.
Advocate S K Gupta, who was representing the man, argued that there were improvements in the woman's statements and the accused has been falsely implicated with malafide intention.
He further contended that there was a delay in lodging the FIR and no prima facie case for the alleged offense was made out against the accused.