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Shiney guilty of rape, baron son let off

The two cases were among Mumbai’s most high-profile rape offences in recent years and, apart from featuring prominent figures, also had a common lawyer. Shrikant Shivade represented both Ahuja and Kasliwal.

A fast-track court handed down the punishment to Ahuja despite the 19-year-old victim turning hostile during the trial in September last year. Instead, it relied heavily on the FIR, DNA tests and other forensic evidence.

Judge P.M. Chouhan, who had examined 15 witnesses, set aside the victim’s statement that she had filed the case at the behest of someone else.

Public prosecutor Kashinath Dighe said she may be booked for perjury. The court, however, acquitted Ahuja of the charges of criminal intimidation and wrongful restraint.

The 38-year-old actor, who had been living in Delhi since getting bail in the June 2009 case, wept after the judgment was delivered, said sources in the court where the proceedings were held in-camera and the media weren’t allowed.

Later, Ahuja, dressed in a pink shirt and jeans, was taken to the city’s Arthur Road jail from where he will be shifted to another prison tomorrow. “He is innocent,” said his wife Anupam, who was accompanied by her mother-in-law.

Lawyer Shivade, who had secured Kasliwal’s acquittal in another court just hours back, said the Ahuja’s conviction would be appealed in the high court. The two cases had links even during trial: while seeking bail for Ahuja, his lawyers had argued that Kasliwal had been granted the relief despite facing similar charges.

The victim in Ahuja’s case had retracted her initial statement, in which she had accused the actor of raping her at his Andheri home, to say she had filed the complaint at the behest of another woman who had helped her secure the job as his domestic help. During cross-examination, she had even claimed to be “in love” with him.

Letting off Kasliwal, 32, accused of raping a 52-year-old woman after offering her a lift in his car one night in 2006, the sessions court said the prosecution had failed to prove the charges against him and present clinching evidence.

The lawyers of Kasliwal — the son of Shriram Mills boss Ambuj Kasliwal who owns the S. Kumars line of suitings — had said the victim gave wrong information about her assailant, the car in which she was allegedly raped and other key details.

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