The high court, in its 85-page judgment, directed that Mr Farooqui, who is presently in jail, be released forthwith.
New Delhi: Mahmood Farooqui, the co-director of Bollywood movie Peepli Live, who was earlier convicted and sentenced to seven-year-jail for raping a US scholar, was on Monday acquitted by the Delhi high court, which granted him benefit of doubt saying the testimony of the prosecutrix was not inspiring the confidence of the court.
Justice Ashutosh Kumar set aside the trial court order, which had awarded a seven-year jail term to Mr Farooqui after convicting him for the alleged rape of a 30-year-old American researcher at his south Delhi residence in March 2015.
The high court, in its 85-page judgment, directed that Mr Farooqui, who is presently in jail, be released forthwith. It held that the woman’s testimony was not reliable and the accused could be given the benefit of doubt.
“Whether such an incident happened — if it has happened — it did happen with the consent of the prosecutrix. This remains in doubt,” the court said. Mr Farooqui had challenged his conviction and the sentence given by the trial court.
During arguments, Mr Farooqui’s lawyer had denied the allegation of rape levelled by the woman and said “no such incident took place on that day”. His counsel had referred to messages exchanged between his client and the woman before the case was lodged and contended that the two were in a “relationship” since January 2015.
The argument was opposed by the Delhi Police’s counsel, who had said that rape had taken place and that the trial court had given reasons while convicting and sentencing 45-year-old Mr Farooqui.
A trial court on August 4,2016, sent him to jail for seven years, observing that he had taken an advantage of the situation when the victim was alone in her house. The court, which on July 30, 2016, held Mr Farooqui guilty of raping the American woman in 2015 in a drunken state, had also imposed a fine of `50,000 on him.
The police on June 19, 2015, lodged the FIR against Mr Farooqui on the woman’s complaint after which he was arrested. On July 29, 2015, the police filed its chargesheet alleging he raped the scholar from Columbia University at his Sukhdev Vihar house in South Delhi on March 28, 2015.