SC junks rape charge against Rahul

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The Supreme Court on Thursday described as "driven by malice and political vendetta" a former Samajwadi Party MLA's allegations against Rahul Gandhi. It dismissed a plea demanding a probe against Rahul in connection with an alleged abduction and rape in Amethi in 2006, and ordered the former MLA, Kishore Samrite from Madhya Pradesh, to pay Rs 5 lakh compensation to Rahul.

"It is a matter of regret that the process of the court has been abused by unscrupulous litigants just to attain publicity and adversely affect the reputation of another politician, respondent No 6 (Rahul). One of the obvious reasons which can reasonably be inferred from the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case is political rivalry," held the bench of judges B S Chauhan and Swantanter Kumar.

Last year, Samrite had filed a petition in the Allahabad High Court seeking a probe against Rahul and others on the basis of a website report which accused them of rape and detaining the alleged victim along with her parents in Amethi. A single-judge Bench issued a notice to Rahul.

Another petition was filed in the High Court by one Gajendra Pal Singh, demanding production of the girl and her family. A division bench hearing this case summoned the records of Samrite's petition, too, and dismissed it after fining Samrite Rs 50 lakh and ordering a CBI probe against him. The girl and her parents appeared and declared that they were never detained by anyone and had not approached either of the petitioners to file a case on their behalf.

Samrite filed an appeal, which the Supreme Court dismissed while also fining Gajendra Rs 5 lakh, to be paid to the girl and her family for damaging their reputation.

The bench held that prima facie the allegations were "without substance and there is not even an iota of evidence before the court to validly form an opinion to the contrary. "

... contd.

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