Delhi HC acquits Peepli Live co-director Mahmood Farooqui in rape case as testimony of the victim not reliable

Delhi HC acquits Peepli Live co-director Mahmood Farooqui in rape case as testimony of the victim not reliable

New Delhi, September 25: Mahmood Farooqui, co-director of Bollywood film Peepli Live, is acquitted in a rape case involving a US researcher, saying he was entitled to benefit of doubt as the testimony of the victim was not reliable. The accusation was made by Delhi High Court.

The trial court order that awarded a seven-year jail term to Farooqui after convicting him for the alleged rape of a 30-year-old American researcher at his south Delhi residence in March 2015 has been set aside by Justice Ashutosh Kumar.

In its 85 page judgement, High Court directed that Farooqui, who is presently in jail, be released forthwith. It claims that woman’s testimony was not reliable and accused could be given the benefit of doubt.

The court said, “Whether such an incident happened, if it has happened, it did happen with the consent of the prosecutrix. This remains in doubt.”

Farooqui had challenged his conviction and the sentence given by the trial court. During arguments, Farooqui’s lawyer had denied the allegation of rape levelled by the woman and said “no such incident took place on that day”. His counsel had referred to messages exchanged between his client and the woman before the case was lodged and contended that the two were in a “relationship” since January 2015.

The argument was opposed by Delhi Police’s counsel who had said that rape had taken place and the trial court had given reasons while convicting and sentencing 45-year-old Farooqui.

A trial court had on August 4 last year sent him to jail for seven years, observing that he had taken advantage of the situation when the victim was alone in his house. The court, which on July 30, 2016 had held Farooqui guilty of raping the American woman in 2015 in a drunken state, had also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on him.

The police had on?June 19, 2015, lodged the FIR against Farooqui on the woman’s complaint after which he was arrested. On July 29, 2015, the police had filed its charge sheet against Farooqui alleging he had raped the research scholar from Columbia University at his Sukhdev Vihar house in South Delhi on March 28, 2015.

(With inputs from agencies)