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Sajano slur wiped clean in court

- Government lawyers admit evidence ‘clearly’ indicates rape conspiracy

The ghost of sajano ghatana was exorcised in the Supreme Court on Tuesday when lawyers representing the Bengal government admitted that there was overwhelming evidence against the accused in the Park Street rape case.

Senior government counsel Mukul Rohtagi and his colleague Avijit Bhattacharjee told the bench that the victim’s recorded statement under Section 164 of the CrPC and the supporting evidence, including CCTV footage and the testimonies of 15 witnesses, “clearly indicated that it (rape) was a well-planned conspiracy”.

The admission came even as justices G.S. Singhvi and H.L. Gokhale dismissed the special leave petitions seeking bail for two of the arrested men, Sumit Bajaj and Naser Khan, on the grounds that two other accused were still absconding.

Mamata Banerjee had infamously dismissed the February 9, 2012, rape of the then 37-year-old complainant as a “sajano ghatana (concocted incident)”. More recently, Trinamul MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar had cast aspersions on the victim, saying the incident was “not at all a rape case, it was a misunderstanding… in a professional dealing between a lady and a client”.

When accused Sumit’s lawyer U.U. Lalit asked the bench when his client could apply for bail again, Justice Gokhale said: “You can try after the two (absconding) are arrested.”

The state government’s counsel said Calcutta police were planning raids in Mumbai and other places to arrest the absconding men, including prime accused Kadir Khan.

Metro had highlighted on January 2 how the police have been sitting on information about Kadir staying with an aunt in Bangladesh.

State counsel Rohtagi told the court that Amar Sharma, who hosted the party in which the victim met the accused, had testified to the presence of Sumit, Naser and two others at the nightclub before the crime. He also gave a statement confirming that the accused escorted the victim to a car and drove off, the lawyer said.

According to Rohtagi, the 15 witnesses among the hotel’s staff supported the prosecution’s view and CCTV footage, “proving that it was Sumit Bajaj, Naser and others who had taken the victim”.

Rohtagi also cited the forensic reports as strong evidence of the crime. “The CFSL (Central Forensic Science Laboratory) reports have established that the hair strands and silver earrings that were seized from the car are of the victim.”