The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Lawyer vs lawyer in steel city rape case

Jamshedpur, Feb. 6: A woman lawyer here has accused a colleague of sexually exploiting her for over three years, provoking a furore among the legal community.

Hemant Kumar Pandey of the Sakchi civil court in the city was arrested today and sent to judicial custody on charges of rape and inducing the woman to abort. He had been allegedly promising marriage in return for sexual favours.

The woman, who is from the Scheduled Caste, lodged an FIR with Birsanagar police station late last night. Today, she and her uncle faced lawyers’ ire when the two turned up at MGM Hospital for the medical examination.

They allegedly tried to persuade the uncle, Babulal Prasad, a retired gazetted officer of National Meteorological Laboratory, to strike a compromise. Later, they are said to have manhandled him near the hospital’s labour room. He was saved by constables deputed to escort the victim.

Prasad alleged: “A section of lawyers is set on preventing me and my niece from taking the legal action. They have already succeeded in removing the SC/ST atrocities prevention act from the case by convincing the police and are now trying to force me to drop the medical examination.”

He was referring to the victim’s attempt to lodge a case of violation of the SC/ST act.

Prasad said he has already approached the SC/ST police station at Chadri Bustee in Ranchi. These police stations are empowered to tackle cases in which the laws meant for Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes are flouted.

According to the FIR, the victim first met Pandey in 2000 when she started working with an advocate at the Sakchi court. As they grew closer, he would occasionally drop in at her rented home in Birsanagar, on the outer edge of Jamshedpur.

In October that year, he allegedly raped her on one of his visits but soon after declared themselves married by putting vermilion on her forehead. They carried on with their relationship after he allegedly promised a proper marriage later.

The FIR further says the woman conceived but was made to abort the child on August 28, 2001, on his excuse of not being well-settled in life. Pandey had allegedly signed documents for the abortion as her husband.

“I have got some conversation taped in the mobile phone that amply suggests that Hemant Pandey was sexually exploiting me on the pretext of marrying me. Secondly, I have the abortion slip which I would use to prove my point in court,” she said.

“I came to know two days ago that Pandey’s marriage has been finalised elsewhere and that the tilak (engagement) is slated on February 8 and the marriage on February 15,”she added.

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