Nation has been raging against the gruesome crime of “double gangrape” in Rohtak for the past few days. The incident reportedly happened on July 13th, when the girl was allegedly abducted from outside her college and gangraped by the same 5 people who had gangraped her in 2013 too. As per complainant’s family, all the accused repeated their crime in order to teach her a lesson for not compromising the case filed before.
It is not surprising that media is presenting only one side of the story caring little about the facts of the case and the history of the case because in today’s day and age, it is not facts that draw attention of viewers but sensational stories that shock viewers beyond belief. Facts are boring. Details don’t interest audiences who anyways have very less time. So a story even if evidences on ground go against it – are served with high decibel voices and demands for lynching of people without any trial or evidence.
Anyways, there is no doubt that heinous crimes against women are being reported from every part of the country every other day. As a society we are all responsible and answerable for it. But that should not blind us from looking at the facts of a particular case and go into depth of something that deeply shakes us all.
Let me clarify before I begin sharing the details of this case – This is not an attempt to divert the attention from this case. This is not an attempt to defame the complainant. This is not an attempt to discredit the prosecution story. This is not an attempt to malign the character of the woman. This is not an attempt to impact the case that’s pending in the court. This is mere documentation of facts that are important to the case. This is stating of those points by defence that people need to know because mere accusation of a crime is not conviction of a person and when media is increasingly becoming the Judge and the Jury, least it can do is hear both sides or hear all sides related to the case especially when the accused is presenting evidence that cannot be easily fabricated or manipulated. If people have lost faith on our courts and justice system and media is the only way to secure justice, it has responsibility to investigate and verify just as the courts do.
Everything stated here is information collected from court records or case details available publicly , various media reports essentially newspapers that don’t get as much attention as Nation Wants to Know and also by interviewing people who are as much a part of this case as the complainant and her family. I am not sharing the girl’s and her family’s version here as they have spoken extensively to media and their version is known to all.
THE CASE BEFORE:
So, the Rohtak Gangrape case dates back to 2013 when first complaint in this case was filed on October 22, 2013. At that time, the woman and her family stayed in Bhiwani. The girl’s father lodged a complaint under sections 363/365 of IPC – that is kidnapping and abduction by unknown persons. They had apparently received a call from her stating that she was locked up in a room. Police teams immediately came into action and searches were made to find the girl. She wasn’t found.
Next day, this girl was found in Chandigarh by some girls who called the police and asked them to come and take care of her. The cops in Chandigarh informed Bhiwani Police and a team immediately left along with the girl’s parents to take her back. The girl was brought to Bhiwani after which the police recorded her statement. She stated that she went to Chandigarh out of her own volition, as she wanted to do a Job and did not inform anyone at home. She stated she was not under any pressure to do so and what she stated was the truth. She was then taken to the Magistrate for statement and she repeated the same in front of Magistrate too and said she wasn’t under any pressure to state the same. After this – she was asked what she wants to do and she expressed her desire to go back home with her parents. She chose not to state anything more to the Magistrate even when asked.
On October 30, 2013, six days after the girl recorded her statements with the police and magistrate, she and her family expressed their wish to add to the complaint registered before. Her statement was recorded again on November 11, 2013 where allegations of gang rape were levelled for the first time.
In her complaint the girl alleges that Amit raped her on October 18, 2013 along with four of his friends whose names she does not mention. She says a girl called Sushma@Anamika also accompanied Amit when she sat in his car. She was offered cold drink which made her unconscious and then she was assaulted at a factory near bust stand, Bhiwani. She further alleges that on October 22, 2013 Raju (Jagmohan) called her again and blackmailed her with some video, so she sat on a motorcycle and went with Jagmohan to a hotel where she was raped again by Amit and Jagmohan . From here she called up her cousin and told she was confined when Amit and Jagmohan went out for a while but couldn’t speak much as they came back. She says she was then dropped by the accused at Rohtak from where she went to Chandigarh. She states that she could not earlier mention all of this because of fear and threats given to her by the accused that he will kill her brother and father if she shared it with anyone. She also alleges that Amit threatened her that since she belongs to a lower caste, she would not be able to do anything. This statement of hers (gist and not word by word) were recorded with the police and the Magistrate on November 11, 2013. There are glaring differences in the statement given by the complainant on this day to the police and the magistrate but I shall not mention them here because of sensitivity of the case.
Accused Amit and Jagmohan were arrested by the police in 2013 and were in Jail since then until two months ago (2.5 years) when both of them were given bail on consideration by Punjab & Haryana High Court that all the witnesses had been examined and the accused could in no way influence either the witnesses or the case and since they had already spent more than two and a half year behind bars and the trial is likely to take more time, they be released on bail. Defence also claimed false implication of the accused. Judgment pertaining to bail of the accused can be read here:
Media has been consistently repeating “five rapists” for the past few days without looking into the case history at all. The case had five rapists only in one sentence of the complaint and no where else. No details of these rapists were provided either to police or Magistrate on November 11, 2013. While Amit and Jagmohan were behind bars for last two and a half years, a girl named Anamika and a boy named Ravi were given a clean chit quite early in the case as police did not find any evidence against them and they successfully passed a polygraph test too. However, a new petition under section 319 was moved by the complainant and her family in year 2014, almost seven months after the first instance of alleged gangrape to summon Sandeep, Mausam, Akash, Ravi and Sushma @ Anamika as accused again in the case. This case was dismissed by Ms Gurvinder Kaur, Additional Session Judge, Bhiwani in December 2015 observing improvements by the victim in her statement and also that there was no sufficient reason provided as to why the complainant did not disclose the incident of rape to police and magistrate first when she gave her statement freely and without any pressure. I find it important to quote excerpts from that judgment : “When she made a statement on 24.10.2013 i.e the day on which her statement under 164 Cr.P.C was recorded she did not state the facts as mentioned in the statement on 11.11.2013. In none of the statements she has stated that she could not disclose the truth to the magistrate or the police on 24.10.2013 and what made her change/improve the statement on 11.11.2013. When she appeared as a witness of the prosecution, she again put up a new story. She is 17 years and 7 months old and is a student of B.Com 1st year and it is difficult to understand as to what prevented her from telling about the occurrence on 22.10.2013. She herself has contradicted the facts so much that it is difficult to make out as to which is true version. Moreover, the medical examination of Jagmohan and Amit was conducted on 24.12.2013 and 10.12.2013 respectively. The occurrence is alleged to be of 22.10.2013 and the swabs or the undergarments taken for medical examination cannot be connected to the occurrence. No semen was found on the clothes of the victim on the next day of the alleged occurrence. The naming of the persons under section 319 Cr.P.C has no basis and how she came to know about the persons who were mentioned by her in the evidence at a later stage is not clear and not sufficient to summon these persons under the provisions of section 319 Cr.P.C , hence the application in hand is dismissed.”
Aggrieved by this order, the complainant and her family moved High Court where the decision on this case is still pending. There was a hearing of this case on July 19th 2016 and now it has been scheduled for December 2016.
In a nut shell out of the five accused in the recent case, three that is Sandeep, Akash and Mausam are yet to even be charged or tried as an accused in the previous case. Hence the narrative of the media – that the five rapists who raped the woman earlier have raped the woman again is full of fallacies and not based on the facts of the case at hand.
In fact Akash – one of the accused in both the cases has not been identified so far. No one knows who this person is. In current case also, cops are yet to establish identity of this person. No action was taken against Sandeep by police ever according to his wife and she states that it was only recent that they got notice from the court that the prosecution has requested for summoning of additional accused – four boys and one girl in the case in which name of Sandeep is also present.
THE CASE NOW:
As per statement given by the complainant and as reported by various media houses – she was abducted by the same 5 people again on July 13th, 2016 at 1:30 pm when she was returning from college. She has categorically mentioned that there were five people – same who had committed rape upon her earlier as well. They dragged her inside a car and she was gang raped by them and thrown near a Chowk. The girl’s family has alleged that the accused were putting pressure on the family to compromise the case and were ready to pay 50 lacs to them for the same but since they refused, this gang rape was done again.
However, the accused family tells a different tale. Balwan, uncle of main accused Amit told me that the family has sent mediators to them to settle the rape case and pay 50 lacs to the girl. When I asked if they have any evidence of the same, he said he doesn’t as the demand was made through a mediator and they couldn’t record any conversation or interaction when the same was done. The demand came to them sometime last year but they could in no terms gather money like that. He also states that when the accused got bail they were warned by the complainants family of further consequences. He claims Amit never went out of Bhiwani since he got bail.
As the complainant continues to be in the hospital, families of various accused have come out with CCTV footages that showcase presence of various accused at different places on the day of alleged crime.
Here’s a brief snapshot:
Jagmohan’s family claims of having video evidence in form of CCTV footage that makes it clear that he was not in Rohtak anytime during the entire day of July 13th, 2016. The CCTV footage includes his presence at a bank where he went to withdraw money. There is a withdrawal slip and they also claim that the bank officials have given their statement clarifying that Jagmohan was present at the bank on that day. The family claims to have proofs of presence of Jagmohan in Bhiwani for the entire day that go against the allegation of abduction and rape against him by the girl in the afternoon.
Amit’s family has also presented evidence of his presence far away from Rohtak on the day of alleged incident. His uncle has shared with the media that he went to the education board on that day and that his presence at the board can be verified by CCTV installed in the premises. He also went to school to pick up his nephew around 12 o’clock , CCTV grab of which is also available.
Sandeep against whom no evidence has perhaps been presented at all in the previous case also has CCTV footage to show he was not in Rohtak on the alleged day of incident. His wife has detailed his entire journey on July 13th from the moment he took a train for Ambala at 4:20 in the morning (Ekta Express) to his presence at various locations in Ambala and Kurukshetra on that day and the next day too. She claims to have CCTV footage that shows Sandeep in Kurukshetra minutes before when he was allegedly abducting the girl in Rohtak.
I wish to specifically mention statement of Garima – wife of accused Sandeep here “No one is listening to us. We are also scheduled caste and not very well to do family but no one wants to look at our evidences. My husband is the only bread earner of my family. How will we survive? My husband has been falsely framed in this case. He doesn’t even know the other accused in this case. We never knew them earlier too. Sandeep was never called for the earlier case and it was only recent that we got to know that High Court has summoned him for the case filed earlier. I just want justice to happen. I know my husband is innocent.” Garima states tower locations of Sandeep can reveal the truth in an instant. Almost crying over the phone, she complains about arrest of her husband since the police had given Sandeep a clean chit after looking at evidence but arrested only because of media pressure.
The same plea was made by the family of other accused too when I spoke to them. Amit’s uncle says “Please hang our son if he is found guilty. But at least look at the evidence that we are giving. I don’t think Amit travelled even for a day to Rohtak after getting his bail. Our son has spent two and a half year in the prison and now we don’t know for how long he will be behind bars. Earlier also these people created pressure in Bhiwani when they recorded their statements again and now also this whole media pressure would make our son rot in Jail for I don’t know how long. All that we can say is – we have been framed in this case.”
This is a link to report from Aajtak with videos presented by the accused. Here while a relative of the accused is sharing the details of the CCTV footage evidence of various accused, the complainant’s brother is stating that the accused have hatched a conspiracy so beautifully that they have managed these evidences:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkTiWXWUvvg
In this video, the complainant is categorically stating to media that the accused are the same five people. She however did not give statement to police or the magistrate for a long time after case was reported even though doctors declared her fit. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bU08YgX62Gw
Another news story sharing CCTV footage where Amit is seen nearby school in Bhiwani where he went to pick up his nephew: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Elbl2c_xBg
Investigation officer in the case Deputy Superintendent of Police, Rohtak, Pushpa Khatri confirmed to me that the accused has presented video evidence in their defence and that they are investigating the authenticity of the videos in case they have been tampered with. It will take time. When I enquired about the medical evidence that has come in the case, she said Doctors haven’t ruled out rape and other forensic evidence is yet to come.
I spoke to Advocate and Cyber law expert Prashant Mali if it is possible to tamper with the CCTV footage since there are apprehensions being raised that the accused may have tampered with the footage that they are presenting for their innocence. He says “Yes it is possible for the accused to tamper with CCTV footage but only if the footage is personally accessible. It is highly unlikely that they can manipulate footage captured at a bank or a school. If anything like that has happened, it can be found through forensic investigation. Also, I think in these cases the most clinching evidence is tower locations of the accused. A case can be easily cracked on basis of this evidence. And if the tower locations of all the accused is showing to be different from alleged place of crime, it definitely raises doubts.”
Ashish Pannu, senior lawyer who represented Amit for his bail in Punjab & Haryana High Court confidently says that his client has been falsely implicated. “Tower locations of Amit and Jagmohan are completely different from alleged place of crime in the previous case and in this case too. No evidence has ever been found against other four people named by the complainant. Amit and Jagmohan were never known to each other while it was claimed that Amit called his four friends during the gang rape earlier. This has been established clearly on basis of evidences. More over, while the girl claims in her complaint that on 22nd October 2013, she could barely speak to her relative informing that she has been abducted, her own call records show that she spoke for 600 seconds during that call. On October 18th 2013 also when it has been claimed that the alleged gang rape happened in Bhiwani, locations of the girl herself has been found to be in Agroha.”
While some sections of media are reporting that three of the accused have been nabbed, there are reports saying that the accused have surrendered themselves to the police and requested for fair investigation in the case.
Here is some additional information in the case gathered through various sources:
– Amit – the main accused in the case lived in the same colony as the complainant in Bhiwani. They are neighbours. Complainant and Amit were known to each other. During investigations of the previous case their call records established they used to speak with each other frequently. On October 18th, date when first gangrape allegedly took place, location of complainant’s mobile number was traced to Agroha – an observation made by investigation officer of the first case. The complainant however denied this observation stating that she had given her mobile to her friend on that day. She however doesn’t know the number of this friend, nor has this friend been presented as a witness in the case.
– When the case registered before was investigated, Amit and Jagmohan who were the main accused in the case were not found to have had a telephonic conversation ever. Their call details did not reveal any interaction between them before the alleged incident. However it was claimed that Amit and Jagmohan were friends and that Jagmohan was called by Amit. Call details go against this contention. Jagmohan was also said to have been introduced to the complainant by one of her own friends.
– None of the five accused named in the gang rape case earlier knew each other. They had no connection or conversation between them as per their phone records and otherwise.
– On the day when the complainant went missing, she left home stating that she was going to college but actually the college was closed on that day.
I am not passing any judgment on this case even though the accused have already been declared guilty by media.
However, as a person who has mind to think here are few questions that need answers in this case:
- Where is the Car in which the girl was abducted and gang raped on July 13, 2016? Isn’t the most crucial piece of evidence in this whole case?
- How can call locations of all the accused be at absolutely different locations on alleged date of crime? Even if we believe that they plotted this whole thing and maybe left their phones at different locations, how is an absolutely normal flow of conversation happening from their phones then? How come Sandeep and Garima have several conversations between them on that given day evident by her phone call details too?
- How can CCTV footage be tampered with that too of institutions like bank and schools?
- The case has been in news for quite some time now. No one who may have seen the girl being abducted in broad day light has come forward to share what he/she saw. How come no one noticed such an act?
- How can five people who are not even known to each other completely hatch such a flawless plan that they are appearing on CCTV on some location while they are at a different location committing a crime?
- Why were the three other accused not named in the first complaint when a fresh complaint was filed in November 2013?
- Why isn’t media reaching out to Ravi and Anamika – people mentioned by the girl in the complaint earlier and take their version since they were declared innocent by police in the case but have now been served notice again by High Court?
- Why isn’t media presenting the observations made by learned Judge while dismissing petition filed by the complainant for adding names of accused to the case?
There are several questions to be asked in the Rohtak Gangrape story but the case has taken a political and caste colour now so I am not sure if these questions would be fairly addressed. My act of asking these questions will be termed as Misogyny by many since I am questioning the versions of an alleged rape victim but I think anyone who calls me so should open our courts websites and start reading through some judgments passed in similar cases like these.
Rest – I hope Justice is served.
If these boys have committed gang rape on a young woman – they should be given harshest punishment for a crime like this even if it is a death penalty. But if they have not committed the crime they are being alleged of, I hope people have the humanity to quantify the punishment for those who would wrongly implicate someone like this.
———————— UPDATE : JULY 23, 6:40PM —————-
#RohtakGangRapeCase Update: I spoke to Mr Sanjay Kumar, IGP Rohtak Range, Rohtak and here’s brief conversation:
Q. Has the Car in which the alleged crime took place traced?
Q. Has the girl has given official statement to police and magistrate?
A. NO. We took the Magistrate to the hospital also to take her statement but she is refusing to say anything. Doctors are saying she is fit but she is saying she is not comfortable. So we will take the statement when she is comfortable.
Q. How long the boys will remain in custody then?
A. We don’t know. The investigations are going on. As per Supreme Court orders, statement of a girl is sufficient in these cases so we are going by that. Unless there is a something severe that contradicts the girls statement we have to take action.
Q. What’s more severe than locations of all the accused and CCTV footages that they have presented?
A. Well we are looking at them. One of the boy has given one which has timing of 5pm. And Bhiwani is very close to Rohtak.
Q. But what about Sandeep who was in Kurukshetra in the afternoon at that time?
A. We are looking into it. We are verifying those footages.
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More details about the case and developments in the case can be read here:
In case you are thoroughly disgusted after reading this report and think this is victim blaming, kindly go through these cases please. If no rapist should be left out, no one who dares to misuse a system should be left out too. Two wrongs do not make a right.
Please also read this case where three men were incarcerated for two years in a false gang rape complaint filed by girlfriend of one of the accused. As per the details – the girl eloped with one of the accused. When brought back, she said she wanted to go with him only and not her parents. After some time, she was called back by her parents and here is when she filed a gang rape complaint against her partner and two of his friends. The court acquitted the accused eventually asking the woman to “stand for seven hours” in the court as punishment for filing false complaint. This lady had apparently got married to someone else while the accused were rotting behind bars during trial of the case. Strangely these matters are not discussed at “The News Hour” and this doesn’t look Injustice to Lord Goswami!
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