High court frees three men jailed for minor's rape

Last Updated: Thu, Feb 14, 2013 16:00 hrs

New Delhi, Feb 14 (IANS) Slamming police probe lapses, the Delhi High Court has acquitted three men sentenced to 10 years' jail by the trial court for a minor's rape.

Justice S.P. Garg Monday acquitted the three accused, who had challenged the trial court's conviction and sentence order of 2006, saying "the investigation is highly defective and faulty".

The court's order came on an appeal filed by Surender Mandal, Dhani Ram and Mahender Mandal and directed the jail authorities to release them immediately if they were not required in any other case.

"The prosecution has failed to establish incriminating circumstances to connect the accused with the commission of offence beyond reasonable doubt," the court 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 suspicion is not enough to take place of proof. The impugned judgment and conviction cannot be sustained and is set aside," Justice Garg said.

The arguments of defence counsel Sumit Verma were accepted by the court that the sole witness in the case, the mother of the victim, had given contradictory versions in the case.

Referring to the mother's testimony, the court said: "Wavering testimony of sole witness (victim's mother) 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 mother in the police complaint said that May 28, 2003, the accused raped her three-year-old daughter who was sleeping in her house.

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