Sunday, June 16, 2024

UP BJP MLA convicted for rape of minor girl

A special court in Uttar Pradesh’s Sonbhadra district has held BJP MLA Ramdular Gond guilty of raping a 15-year-old girl in 2014, a crime for which punishment under the POCSO Act usually ranges between a seven-year jail term and life imprisonment.

The court will pronounce the quantum of punishment on December 15.

Gond, a first-time MLA who won the Duddhi seat in 2022, had been out on bail. He was taken into custody and sent to jail soon after his conviction by additional district judge (first) Ehsan Ullah Khan of the MP-MLA court.

Gond stands to automatically lose his Assembly membership in accordance with the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling that any MP or MLA convicted of a crime and handed a minimum two-year jail term ceases to be an elected representative with immediate effect.

Advocate Vikas Shakya, the survivor’s counsel, said the MLA was held guilty under Sections 376 (rape) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC, besides the POCSO Act. The verdict came after the court heard eight prosecution and three defence witnesses.

The survivor’s brother said he was hoping the court would pronounce a jail term of not less than 20 years against Gond, whom he accused of harassing his family repeatedly after becoming an MLA and pressurising them to withdraw the case.

The MLA had waylaid the survivor and tried to sexually assault her in a village field on the evening of November 4, 2014, a member of the prosecution said.

Gond’s wife was the village pradhan at the time of the crime. The survivor returned home and narrated her ordeal to her elder brother, a farmer. She said the politician raped her multiple times in the preceding months by using threats and intimidation.

Myorpur police registered a case against Gond based on a complaint by the girl’s brother.

During the trial, the prosecution claimed that the girl was born in 1998, while the MLA produced documents claiming she was born in 1994, Special Public Prosecutor Satyaprakash Tripathi said.

“By the time her statement was recorded during the trial, the girl was married. She lives with her family now,” the prosecution said.

After he was elected MLA, the case was transferred from the POCSO court to the MP-MLA court.

20231212176067

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