Tuesday, January 31, 2023
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Criminal Collusion?

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Is the Haryana Police deliberately weakening the case of a victim reportedly gang-raped by three students of Jindal University?

By Somi Das


In a shocking incident, a 20-year-old MBA student of OP Jindal University in Sonepat was allegedly gang-raped by Hardik Shikri, a final-year law student and two of his friends from the same college. All three are behind bars.

Though the case was probed by the Har-yana Police, the victim has filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking its transfer to the CBI, alleging that the Haryana Police had failed to conduct a fair investigation.

Shikri, a resident of Sonepat, established physical intimacy with the victim after making promises of a steady relationship in 2013. The petition alleges that soon he started sending his nude photographs to the victim and also insisted that she share her explicit pictures with him.“The Petitioner in her naivety and without realizing the demonic and criminal intent sent a couple of explicit pictures to him which became the basis of this long-drawn ordeal of sexual harassment, rape, criminal intimidation, assault and other serious offences,” the petition adds. 

He then forced her to establish sexual relations with two of his friends, Vikas Garg and Karan Chabra, from the same college. Shikri also created a WhatsApp group where he shared the nude pictures with his friends. The victim went through this harrowing experience for almost two years. She was taken to different resorts in Sonepat and Chandigarh where she was forced to drink alcohol before being raped. 

 

Finally, on April 11, with her parent’s support, she complained to the college authorities. Shikri’s laptop and mobile were confiscated immediately. The three accused were suspended from the college and arrested by the Haryana Police on charges of gang rape and criminal conspiracy.

However, the victim filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking the transfer of the case to the CBI, alleging that the police had failed to conduct a fair investigation and was on the side of the accused.

Speaking to India Legal, Devadatt Kamat, who is representing the victim along with Indira Jaising, said: “They have been booked for criminal conspiracy and gang rape but we are asking for more charges. The investigation is completely flawed because despite obscene pictures being exchanged through electronic device, relevant sections of the IT Act have not been invoked.”

Political pressure to withdraw the case is another reason for demanding a CBI probe. The victim alleges that due to the “political contacts” of the accused, the SHO who filed the FIR in the case was transfered the very next day. The petition also alleges that Shikri was given access to his electronic devices after the victim had narrated her ordeal to the police. The apex court has sought a response from the Haryana Police and also from the CBI on whether the case is befitting enough to be taken over by the investigating agency.

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