In one of the fastest rulings in a trial court, a court in this Punjab town on Thursday convicted and sentenced a rapist to 10 years jail -- just nine days after the charge-sheet was filed.
Additional District and Sessions Judge JS Bhinder convicted Jai Prakash Diwedi, alias Pawan Dubey, of Uttar Pradesh, for the kidnapping and rape of a minor girl of a village in Garhshankar sub-division of Hoshiarpur district, and sentenced him to 10 years rigorous imprisonment.
The victim, aged 17 years and two months at the time of the crime, used to work in a factory in Ludhiana, 90 km from Hoshiarpur, when she was kidnapped and threatened by the accused in May last year. She was taken to New Delhi, where the accused raped her for 15 days, threatening to kill her younger brother if she told anyone about the rape.
The accused later abandoned her at a bus stop in Delhi.
The charge-sheet was filed in the court by Punjab Police on January 2 this year. After cross-examination and arguments, the court decided the matter and sentenced the accused to 10 years rigorous imprisonment on the ninth day of the trial.
The defence counsel had argued that the victim had gone with the accused on her own and had not been raped. They claimed that she had had consensual sex with the accused. However, based on the documents that showed her age to be under 18 years, the court ruled that she being a minor, her consent, which was obtained under fear, was legally not tenable.
The court also imposed a fine of Rs 90,000 on the convict.
"After the filing of the charge-sheet in the court, the matter was decided within 8-9 days. This is one of the fastest trials in the country," said additional public prosecutor T.S. Grewal.
Hoshiarpur district police chief Sukhchain Singh Gill said: "The efforts of police and the judiciary have resulted in this case being decided in such a short time."