Court acquits three of raping 3-year-old girl

The Delhi High Court has acquitted three persons, sentenced to 10 years in jail by the trial court in a case of rape of a three-year-old girl, on the ground that the prosecution had failed to prove the charge.

Allowing the appeal filed by Surender Mandal, Dhani Ram, and Mahender Mandal challenging trial court's conviction and sentence order in 2006, Justice S P Garg said, "The investigation is highly defective and faulty."

The judge said, "When two incredible versions confront the court, the court has to give benefit of doubt to the accused and it is not safe to sustain the conviction. Mere suspension is not enough to take place of proof." The court directed the jail authorities to release the accused immediately.

The court accepted defence counsel Sumit Verma's argument that the victim's mother, who was the sole witness, had given contradictory versions in the case. "Wavering testimony of the sole witness is inconsistent with her initial version and has not been corroborated at all. When she (witness) had raised alarm, many public persons gathered there. However, the Investigating Officer did not record statement of any such person," the judge said, referring to the mother's testimony. According to the FIR lodged by the victim's mother, the accused persons had raped the three-year-old girl in her house on May 28, 2003.

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