8-year rigorous jail term for him

Even as the Kerala High Court on Thursday confirmed the eight-year rigorous imprisonment awarded to self-styled godman Amritha Chaithanya alias Santhosh Madhavan by the Ernakulam Additional Sessions Court in a case relating to raping a minor girl, the court acquitted him in another rape case.

Justice P. Bhavadasan while upholding the sentence observed that no grounds had been made out for interfering with the conviction and sentence passed by the sessions judge. The sessions court was perfectly justified in relying on the testimony of the victim and holding the accused guilty of raping the minor girl.

The prosecution case was that Santhosh Madhavan had raped three inmates of an orphanage owned by him. He had also been charged with raping a 22-year-old woman in 2006. While three victims had turned hostile, one of them stuck to her complaint.

Taking the police to task for its certain lapses in the probe, the court observed that the probe in the case was found to be wanting in many aspects. Many of the crucial aspects had been left untouched by the agency.

A few material documents had not been produced. The police had not bothered to seize the records of the school or the orphanage.

The court, however, added that the flaws in investigation might not be grounds to throw out the prosecution case.

The court further observed that rape was an abhorrent crime, some thing which was unacceptable to both the victim and society. The court said that it was extremely difficult to believe that the victim would come forward with a false story.

Counsel for the accused argued that there were lot of inconsistencies and contradictions in the statements of the victim. Additional Director-General of Prosecution Tom Jose Padinjarekara argued that that deposition of the victim itself was sufficient to convict the accused.

The court said that the inconsistencies in her statements during the cross-examinations were not so material as to affect the core of the prosecution case.

The court acquitted Santhosh Madhavan in another rape case in which he was convicted on the strength of a CD.

The court held that the CD could not be accepted as evidence.

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