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Casual labourer Rahul Chowdhary, 35, was arrested on May 5, 2013 for allegedly raping the 4-year-old who lived nearby.
He was arrested by Nalla Sopara police and charged under Section 376 (rape) and Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences Act. The trial began late 2014, and resulted in the first acquittal in Vasai court of a man charged under POCASO.
“Sessions Judge S G Mehere acquitted my client for lack of evidence,” Chowdhary’s lawyer Digambar Desai said. “During in camera proceedings, the girl revealed that her mother tutored her to say she was raped. During medical examination some scratch marks were found near her genitals, but we told court that the FIR was filed days after the incident in late April 2013, and the irritation (itching) marks were fresh ones in May 2013,” Desai said.
“Chowdhary lent Rs 400 to the child’s father and demanded it back, but her mother framed him to avoid repaying,” added Desai. “His bail was rejected twice and he languished in jail since May 2013.”
Unlike other false rape cases, I don’t see IPC 182, IPC 211 etc being invoked on the complainant mother. But a positive point is that acquitted man’s lawyer is filing compensation claim on the state. In other countries like US, such claims happen from time to time and can run into millions of dollars for wrongful prosecution and conviction. It is not clear why in India such claims are not common, and whether it is because of lack of legal provisions, or just lack of awareness.
Desai, who fought the case without charge, said Chowdhary will sue the State and seek compensation of Rs 1 lakh for mental torture he underwent during 21 months in jail.