New Delhi: A Delhi court on Wednesday framed charge against Peepli Live co-director Mahmood Farooqui for allegedly sexually assaulting an American researcher and fixed 9 September to launch day-to-day trial in the case.
The court, however, kept pending Farooqui’s bail plea and is likely to decide on it after recording the evidence of the complainant who has been summoned on 14 September.
“On March 28 at accused’s residence in Sukhdev Vihar, you (Farooqui) committed rape of the prosecutrix in the manner as defined under Section 375, punishable under Section 376 of the IPC. Let the charge be framed. The application of bail be kept pending,” Additional Sessions Judge Sanjiv Jain said.
The judge also asked the director of forensic lab to expedite the examination of case property in the case and submit the report at the earliest, as the complainant’s visa is valid upto 5 October only.
This direction came after the investigating officer (IO) filed a report on behalf of the FSL director that the case has been taken up on priority and the forensic results would be ready by 30 September. The court directed the FSL to submit its report ten days earlier on the grounds that the complainant would have to return to the US by 5 October.
An application was moved by Farooqui seeking inspection of her phone which allegedly had text messages relating to case after which the mobile phone was sent to forensic department.
The court fixed 9, 10, 11, 14, 15 and 16 September for daily trial proceedings and directed the DCP south-east to depute a senior officer to ensure the presence of witnesses summoned as per the order for the dates fixed.
Farooqui had moved the bail application through his lawyer Nitya Ramakrishnan, who had submitted that the accused was a “law abiding citizen” and his family has been cooperative in the probe. However, the prosecution had opposed his bail plea, saying it was a heinous crime. Farooqui is in the judicial custody since 20 June for allegedly raping the 35-year-old woman in an inebriated state after inviting her for dinner at his house.
The court’s order came after Additional Public Prosecutor AT Ansari moved an application under section 309 of CrPC for holding day-to-day proceedings of trial in the case.
“Since the trial of the case relates to an offence under section 376 (rape) of the IPC and the victim of crime is a foreign national, it is expedient in the interest of justice that the proceedings of the trial be held as expeditiously as possible,” the APP said.
The prosecutor, in another application, sought direction from the court to call upon Farooqui to admit or deny the genuineness of documents including electronic records filed before it.
Farooqui pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.
The woman, a research scholar from Colombia University, had alleged in her complaint filed at New Friends colony police station that Farooqui had raped her at his Sukhdev Vihar house in south Delhi on March 28, 2015, when she had gone to meet him to get his help for her research work.
She had claimed to have met Farooqui at Varanasi where she had gone to collect information about her research theme based on Baba Gorakhnath.