The Delhi high court has acquitted three persons, sentenced to 10 years in jail by the trial court in a case of rape of a three-year-old girl, on the ground that the prosecution had failed to prove the charge.
Allowing the appeal filed by Surender Mandal, Dhani Ram, and Mahender Mandal challenging trial court's conviction and sentence order in 2006, Justice S P Garg said, "The investigation is highly defective and faulty."
The judge said, "The prosecution has failed to establish incriminating circumstances to connect the accused with the commission of the offence beyond reasonable doubt.
"When two incredible versions confront the court, the court has to give benefit of doubt to the accused and it is not safe to sustain the conviction. Mere suspension is not enough to take place of proof. The impugned judgment and conviction cannot be sustained and is set aside," he said and directed the jail authorities to release the accused immediately if they were not required in any other case.
The court accepted the defence counsel Sumit Verma's argument that the victim's mother, who was the sole witness, had given contradictory versions in the case.
"Wavering testimony of the sole witness (victim's mother) is inconsistent with her initial version and has not been corroborated at all. When she (witness) had raised alarm, many public persons gathered there. However, the investigating officer did not record statement of any such person," the judge said, referring to the mother's testimony.
According to the first information report lodged by the victim's mother, the accused persons had raped her three-year-old daughter who was sleeping in her house on May 28, 2003.