Review Petition Filed in Chhawla Rape and Murder Case
It was in February 2012, when a 19 years old woman was abducted by 3 men in a red Tata Indica car near Hanuman Chowk, Qutub Vihar, Delhi, while she was returning from her office.
When the victim didn’t reach home, her parents tried all ways to contact her, but the only thing they got was the disappointment. then they lodged a kidnapping case at Chhawla police station.
After three days her mutilated and decomposed body was found in a village of Rewari district in Haryana. Multiple injuries were found on her lifeless body. Her autopsy report showed that the girl was gang raped and attacked with various weapons like car tools, glass bottles, metal objects, etc.
Three accused men were arrested by the police and their car was also seized. It has been claimed by police that one of accused took revenge after the girl spurned his advances.
After two years in February 2014, the court convicted the three accused Rahul, Ravi Kumar and Vinod, of rape and murder. The court also said that the convicts deserve no mercy and awarded death sentence to them and in August 2014 the Delhi high court confirmed the death sentence.
But the case took a twist after eight years on 7th November 2022, when the Supreme Court acquitted all the three convicts. A bench of Chief Justice of India acquitted the three men, stating that the prosecution, whose case rested on circumstantial evidence, had failed to prove it.
According to the bench, the acquittal is based on a number of flaws in the investigation such as-
- The whole prosecution is based on the circumstantial evidences,
- No test-identification parade was conducted by any official,
- Not a single witness had seen the registration number of the car in which the victim was abducted,
- The circumstances in which the three accused were arrested the car seized are doubtful,
- The trial courts performed few errors in exhibiting the entire disclosure statements as evidence,
- The discovery of accused’s hair strand on the body of the deceased is doubtful as the body was lying in the open field for three days and three nights,
- The body did not showed any signs of putrefaction and it is highly unlikely that nobody noticed the body for three days,
- The story of bloodstains and semen on the car and their forensic examination appears highly improbable and unreliable.
- All the forensic evidences were neither scientifically and legally proved,
- The tampering of evidences collected could not be ruled out.
The bench said that the medical and scientific evidence, the report of DNA profiling, the evidence with regard to the CDRs (call data records) etc. were not proved by the prosecution by leading, cogent, clinching and clear evidence, much less unerringly pointing the guilt of the accused.
The Supreme Court added that it is constrained to make these observations as the court has noticed many glaring lapses having occurred during the course of the trial.
The top court also noticed that out of the 49 witnesses examined by the prosecution, 10 material witnesses were not cross-examined and many other important witnesses were not adequately cross-examined by the defense counsel.
Devastated and agitated from the decision of the Supreme Court, the victim’s father said that the top court’s decision reflects badly not just on his family, but the whole society. Hence on 5th December 2022, he moved to the Supreme Court seeking a review in its verdict of November 7.
In his review plea the rape victim’s father states that grave injustice would be caused to the victim, her parents and the society in case the accused are allowed to walk free despite strong circumstances pointing towards their guilt which have been duly proved beyond reasonable doubt.
The plea further added that all the evidence brought on record and testimonies of various prosecution witnesses also form a complete chain of circumstances which only point towards the guilt of the accused.
Delhi LG VK Saxena had cleared the files for filing review petition by the Delhi Police against this gruesome rape and murder.