In a major embarrassment for the police, a 13-year-old girl has told the court that she was never gang-raped by four youths at Vakola in April, this year. The minor recanted her statement in front of the judge, saying that she was not raped and had only visited the hospital with her mother, as she was having severe stomach pain.
After the girl made the statement during the hearing, the entire courtroom and cops were stunned. When asked further, the girl said that her mother had told her to make up the story. According to her, the mother had assaulted her 16-year-old friend, and fearing that she would complain to the cops, the gang-rape allegations were fabricated to get the friend in trouble.
The court has now directed the Vakola police officials to take her statement again on November 10. The statement will now be recorded in front of the judge, the case investigating officer and police inspector in-charge at that time. Police officials refused to comment on the case as it is sub judice, but added that they were clueless as to what made the girl change her mind. Since the case is in the court, police said they cannot question her unless in front of the judge.
Senior police inspector Vinayak Mulay of Vakola police station confirmed the development. He said, “Now it is for the court to decide. As the matter is sub judice, I cannot comment. The medical reports are, however, positive.” A police officer, on condition of anonymity, said that the medical reports, the DNA test and forensic reports indicated physical contact, and will backfire on the survivor and all accused in the case.
On April 25, the minor was raped by four young men, at the residence of one of the youth in Vakola, Santa Cruz (East), where she was invited for a birthday party. The victim got intoxicated after a few drinks and apparently lost consciousness, after which they allegedly raped her. After the girl regained consciousness, her 16-year-old friend, who had invited her for the party, took her back home.
When she started experiencing pain in her private parts, she told her mother who then took her to VN Desai hospital, after which hospital authorities informed the police about the rape. MiD DAY had reported about the incident (‘Four youths, teenage girl held for 13-year-old’s gang rape in Mumbai,’ April 27).
Four youths identified later as Venkatesh Naidu (20), Melvin Dsouza (22), Sachin Yadav (22), and Bipin Singh (22), were arrested and are charged under sections of the Indian Penal Code, as well as the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. It later came to light that other friends saw one of the accused and the 16-year-old girl in an intimate position. They too then demanded to have sex with her. Fearing rape, the 16-year-old girl promised to bring the survivor for the next gathering so that they could have their way with her.
The 16-year-old friend of the survivor was arrested and charged with conspiracy and common intention of rape, but was later acquitted by the juvenile court and she became approver in the case. The police conducted medical, DNA and forensic tests, which were positive. The Vakola police filed a chargesheet within 90 days, and the matter came up for hearing at Special court on October 21.