The sessions court here that framed charges against former Haryana Minister Gopal Kanda on Friday was scathing in its criticism of the Delhi police for not probing the sexual exploitation angle in the air-hostess suicide case.
District and Sessions Judge S. K. Sarvaria noted that the police had made progress towards ascertaining the alleged sexual exploitation of the victim but for reasons best known to it did not conduct further investigation into this aspect.
After the post-mortem report of August 6 last revealed that the victim was “habituated to vaginal and anal penetration”, the police had recorded the supplementary disclosure statement of Aruna Chadha dated August 10 in which she purportedly claimed that the victim was repeatedly made pregnant and the pregnancies were medically terminated.
On August 12, they recorded the statement of a gynaecologist who prescribed pills to help the victim terminate her pregnancy in March 2012.
“Thereafter, it appears that for the reasons best known to investigating agency further investigation in this direction has not been conducted to collect further evidence,” Mr. Sarvaria said. In its order of September 20 last while dismissing Kanda’s bail plea, the court had chanced upon the post mortem report and the gynaecologist’s statement and said the sexual abuse aspect required further investigation.
“Still, the investigating agency has chosen not to unearth further circumstantial or other credible evidence on this aspect to reach the truth. The investigation on this aspect of the case looks tainted and stinking,” Mr. Sarvaria said.
Mr. Sarvaria said the judicial conscience of the court did not “permit it to shut its eyes” to the sexual exploitation aspect and that a “truthful prima facie opinion about this most important circumstance of the case” had to be arrived at despite the police having “abruptly stopped investigation”.
The Judge said that the police should have used Aruna Chadha’s alleged disclosure statement to locate the places where multiple pregnancies of deceased victim were terminated but this valuable piece of evidence was not collected during investigation.
“The investigating officers should also have gathered information as to which places and on which dates the deceased victim was sexually exploited…Even now the investigation into this aspect can be carried out by investigating agency under Section 173(8) Cr.PC. Will it do it?” the judge asked.
While framing rape charges on Kanda, Mr. Sarvaria said: “The prosecution, in my view, has prima facie established that accused Gopal Kanda has repeatedly committed rape upon deceased victim from time to time during the period of her employment with MDLR (Kanda’s firm) without her consent which fact is reflected by her behaviour of leaving MDLR again and again to escape from clutches of the inhuman sexual exploitation by the accused.”
The Judge cited the post mortem report and the victim’s suicide note dated August 4, 2012, in which the victim said that the accused persons had made her life “abnormal”, showed that “accused Gopal Kanda has also repeatedly indulged in commission of unnatural offence with deceased victim during the period of her employment with MDLR which offence is punishable under Section 377 IPC”.
The court also remarked that investigation into the victim’s mother’s death under mysterious circumstances was yet to gather pace. Noting that Kanda was a politically influential person, the Judge criticised the police failure to record co-accused Chanshivroop’s confession statement properly and the agency’s failure to initiate extradition proceedings to bring him back.