A 45-year-old Kalbadevi-based jeweller allegedly repeatedly raped a 43-year-old woman, telling her that he would return her mortgaged ornaments worth Rs 31 lakh only if she maintained physical relations with him. The accused, Rakesh Shah, was arrested two weeks ago. His father, Babulal Ratanchand Shah (68), who has also been accused of molesting the woman, is on the run.
According to the first information report lodged on December 5 (copy available with MiD DAY), on March 11, 2012 Meena (name changed to protect identity) approached Rakesh at his family-run jewellery shop, Ratanchand Shah and Company, located at Mumbadevi Road, Kalbadevi, for mortgaging her ornaments.
Rakesh kept the ornaments weighing over 1 kilogram and worth Rs 31 lakh, and told her he would return them after assessing their weight. After two days, Meena approached him, but he told her that the ornaments were with his father, who was away at that time.
Days later, Meena went to the shop again but Rakesh’s brother Ketan told her that their father had kept the jewellery in his friend’s bank locker, and the friend was out of town. Weeks and months went by but the shop owners neither returned her ornaments nor gave her money in their lieu.
On February 1, 2013, when Meena went to the shop to ask for them, Rakesh took her to the mezzanine floor, and told her that since she had no documentary proof, he would return the ornaments only if she had sex with him, she has stated in her complaint. The same day he raped her, she alleged, and repeated the act several times.
“I was helpless. I had mortgaged the ornaments without my family’s consent. I wanted them back at any cost. As Rakesh’s father knew that he was raping me, he molested me several times and tried to rape me, too,” said Meena. Finally, Meena told them she had decided to lodge a police complaint.
But Rakesh told her he would marry her as he had divorced his wife. He was also aware that Meena was not on good terms with her husband. He told her he would sell his shop and reimburse her for the jewellery. However, Meena came to know that he had sold his shop but hadn’t given her any money.
She approached Deputy Commissioner of Police Nisar Tamboli through criminal lawyers Mahesh Vaswani and Jignesh Gor. On the instruction of Tamboli, the LT Marg police registered an FIR against Rakesh and his father Babulal.
“We have arrested Rakesh under sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 376 (rape), 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of a common intention) of the Indian Penal Code. Rakesh is in judicial custody, while Babulal is absconding,” said SS Mandlik, senior inspector, LT Marg police station.
The other side
Rakesh’s brother Ketan Shah said, “My father is not absconding. He has taken anticipatory bail. He is sick. All allegations are false. All incidents (rape or sex) happened by mutual consent. As I am not linked to the case, I have no other details.”