Uttar Pradesh rape victim: Laxity of law holds up trial in earlier case too

Days later, on the night of July 4, the incident took place which led the woman to lodge a complaint with the police.

Published: 06th March 2017 10:34 PM  |   Last Updated: 06th March 2017 10:34 PM   |  A+A-

For representational purpose

Express News Service

CHITRAKOOT: It is not only in the Gayatri Prajapati case that the woman who was allegedly raped by the UP minister is awaiting action by the law. Another case relating to the same woman is languishing in the pre-trial stage.

In this case, a local strongman reportedly having ties with Samajwadi Party leaders allegedly abused and threatened her because she had been highlighting corruption in the local Nagar Palika Nigam or municipal board.

Though a charge-sheet was filed in this case by the UP police in October 2015 -- but only after delaying it on one pretext or other -- the trial is yet to begin.

Like in the Prajapati case, in which the UP police dragged their feet on filing an FIR despite the victim complaining to the DGP, in this case too there was pressure brought upon the woman to retract her complaint. But she stood her ground.

According to the complaint lodged by the woman at the Karwi kotwali police station, (a copy of which is with New Indian Express), the woman stated that while she was returning home on the night of July 4, 2014, around 8.20 p.m., a group of men led by Rajesh Karwaria alias Raju stopped their car beside her. ''Three men, who were armed, got down from the car and forcibly dragged me inside the vehicle. Rajesh began misbehaving with me in the car and tore my clothes. When I started shouting for help, one of the three armed men pointed his weapon at me and threatened me that if I continued to oppose them (in the municipal board), I would be killed. They then pushed me out of the car and sped away and I suffered injuries,” she said in the complaint.

Rajesh Karwaria is the husband of Neelam Karwaria, who is the chairperson of the Chitrakoot Dham (Karwi) municipal board. After the local media pursued the matter, cases were registered under sections 354, 323, 504 and 506 of IPC against Rajesh Karwaria and three others.

Karwaria is the president of the Ramayan Mela for Chitrakoot, a trust that receives funds from the state government to organize the mela. Each year, the one-month-long Ramayan Mela commences on February 24 and is attended by several ministers and MLAs. About two years ago, SP Supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav had come to watch the Ramayan Mela at the invitation of Rajesh Karwaria.

The woman’s lawyer, Anand Mishra said his client, who was also a member of the municipal board, highlighted issues of misappropriation of funds in the board. “She staged dharnas and protests to highlight corruption in the board, much to the dislike of Rajesh Karwaria, who used to run the show on behalf of his wife. She took up the matter with the district magistrate as well. With even the local media highlighting the corruption in the board, the Karwaria family was upset,'' Mishra alleged.

Days later, on the night of July 4, the incident took place which led the woman to lodge a complaint with the police.

No sooner had the police registered cases, Rajesh Karwaria, according to Anand Mishra, approached the High court seeking quashing of the FIR. But the court ruled that no arrests should be made till the filing of the charge-sheet.

''Since then, the filing of charge sheet has been delayed for unexplained reasons. In between, four Investigating Officers were changed and this was done only to pressure my client to change her statement. But she stood her ground,'' said Mishra.

Finally, after a gap of about one and half years -- in October 30, 2015 -- the police finally filed the charge sheet indicting Rajesh Karwaria. But now, more than a year later, the trial in the case has not yet commenced.

“The accused is roaming free and the charge sheet was filed in October 2015. We are waiting for the trial to commence,'' said Anand Mishra.

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