Saturday, February 16, 2019

6 years on, landlord held guilty of digitally raping US woman

 A fast-track court in Delhi on Thursday held a man guilty of raping his tenant with a finger six years ago. The woman, a US national, was asleep with her husband when Rajiv Panwar violated her with his finger in the early hours of June 24, 2013. Because of his action, the woman said she had to leave India and her marriage broke down.
“It can be safely concluded that the accused had entered the room where the prosecutrix was sleeping with her husband and put his finger in her vagina... Accused Rajiv Panwar is held guilty of offence of rape/digital rape under Section 376 IPC (sic),” judge Ila Rawat said.
The survivor, who worked with a United Nations agency in India at the time, reported that she had woken up between 4 and 4.30am sensing that someone was digitally raping her. Panwar fled as soon as she saw him and raised an alarm. Her husband started after Panwar but stopped when she cried, “Don’t leave me”, as she wanted to be comforted.
Panwar was arrested the same day after the survivor identified him. He, however, pleaded innocence and alleged that the couple didn’t pay rent on time and “created nuisance”. They had framed him to avoid paying the dues, he said.

Panwar said he used to visit the couple’s flat occasionally as their landlord, but denied being there at the time of the crime.
Through her counsel Karuna Nandy, the survivor submitted that her relationship with her husband was severely affected because of the incident. He had been very protective of her throughout, yet she had been assaulted while sleeping beside him. As such, the husband was also a victim, Nandy said. The couple’s appeal to dissolve their marriage is pending.
Judge Rawat held the woman’s statements to be “absolutely consistent”. When the defence counsel argued that she had made “improvements” in her deposition, the court said, “It is true that prosecutrix has given a rather detailed statement in her examination-in-chief but it is to be kept in mind that prosecutrix is a foreign national.” The woman, although fluent in English, was not expected to be familiar with the process of investigation of cases in India, it added. “She has given an explanation that after the incident, she was very traumatised and emotional (sic).”
The defence counsel even insinuated that the woman had “imagined” the crime, but the court said she had woken up after being stimulated with a finger. “She may have expressed the act by using different expressions, however, there is no doubt with respect to the meaning they convey.” Panwar will be sentenced on  18th February.

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