Seven years after he got away with the gang-rape of a 13-year-old girl, the key accused, who claimed to be a minor, was on Monday, declared as a 'major' on the day the heinous crime was committed.
Gaurav Shukla, a close kin of a mafia don-turned influential Samajwadi Party leader, had managed to go scot free without even having to face a trial, simply because he could produce a certificate showing him as a minor at the time of the incident.
With the local juvenile court confirming that Gaurav was not a minor in 2005, when he forcibly dragged the 13-year-old girl from a road in Lucknow's Ashiana locality into his van, and gang-raped her in a moving vehicle, a criminal case will now be registered against him.
While his other five accomplices who were equal partners in the crime, faced gangrape charges, Gaurav used his uncle's clout to intimidate and gag the victim and her family. Thanks to the sincere intervention by All India Democratic Women's Association local head Madhu Garg, the family got the strength to withstand the odds.
"After we turned down their allurements, we were threatened with dire consequences if we did not withdraw the case against Gaurav, but I was determined to fight; I knew I would get justice after being made to suffer so much", the girl told mediapersons after the court gave its verdict.
Garg feels, "The public opinion generated against rape after the recent Delhi case did go a long way in arousing sensitivity against this crime which often goes unpunished on one false plea or the other. I am sure in this case too the key culprit will have to pay for what all he did to the poor girl who was just about 13 when she was subjected to all the physical and mental trauma."
Gaurav was alleged to have pulled the girl into the vehicle while she was returning home. He stripped her at gun point and even tortured her by poking cigarette buts on her body before raping her in the moving vehicle. The act was repeated by five of his friends after which they dumped her on a deserted street.