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HC upholds 10-year jail term for duo who raped pregnant woman


Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has upheld the ten-year imprisonment awarded to two persons by a lower court for gangraping a 20-year-old pregnant woman while observing that the prosecution has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.

Justice Mridula Bhatkar dismissed the appeal filed by Sunil Suryawanshi and Ramesh Mali, both residents of Ahmednagar in western Maharashtra, challenging their conviction for gangrape and the ten-year jail term handed by a sessions court in March 2010.

As per the prosecution, the incident occurred on July 21, 2008 when the victim was returning home from work in the evening and the accused duo waylaid her and forcibly took her to a nearby field where they raped her for two hours and threatened to kill her if she screamed.

She managed to escape from the spot and lodged a police complaint. Suryawanshi and Mali were apprehended a few days later.

Their lawyer argued there were several discrepancies in the victim’s statement and that she had not mentioned about forcible sexual intercourse. According to defence, the victim could not have seen the accused clearly because it was evening when the incident had happened.

However, refusing to accept the defence’s contention, Justice Bhatkar said, “the victim is a star witness in the case of rape. The prosecutrix has given a consistent and detailed evidence on the point of how and when and where the offence had taken place.”

“At the time of rape, the victim was a young woman of 20 years who had married one year back and was three months pregnant. It was gangrape. The appellants had repeatedly raped her for nearly two hours.”

The judge noted the prosecution has proved its case against the two accused and hence their appeal against conviction deserves to be dismissed.

The HC also rejected an application filed by one of the convicts to reduce the Rs 50,000 fine which was imposed on him by a sessions court.

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