Fast track court to try Shiney Ahuja

National Commission for Women Chairperson Girija Vyas and Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan address a press conference in Mumbai on Friday. PTI

Chavan’s decision followed a high profile visit by the National Commission of Women (NCW) chairperson Girija Vyas to Mumbai. She met the Chief Minister in the Secretariat and urged him to set up the fast track court.

Chavan and Vyas later addressed a joint news conference in which the Chief Minister said the preliminary investigations by the police “show a probability of rape” and added th at the victim, who happens to be a 20-year old girl from Roha in Raigad district south of Mumbai, will be given full protection.

Shiney was arrested on Sunday after the housemaid complained to police that she was raped by him.

The police have been making various claims from Shiney confessing to the crime, then his admitting only “consensual sex”, medical reports having “proved” the crime to the girl being a minor. Shiney’s wife Anupam has denied the actor having confessed to anything and his lawyer Shrikant Shivde too is refusing to accept medical reports, whose conclusions are yet to be submitted to the court. As such, the metropolitan court on Thursday refused to extend his police remand and he is now in judicial custody.

Vyas, who led a three-member NCW team, had a meeting with the complainant, whose whereabouts have been kept secret, and police officers conducting investigations.
“The victim is in a state of shock, she was raped,” Vyas stated, adding that in this case, “we have to stand by her and see that the accused is punished, howsoever mighty he be.”

Quick justice

Vyas said a fast track court is necessary “in the interest of quick justice” to both parties in the case. “Moreover, in such cases, prolonged trial could result in the victim and witnesses being influenced or pressurised,” Vyas said.

Chavan, on his part, said the state government would extend all help to rehabilitate the complainant in the case.

In a related development, Sangeeta, another housemaid working with the Ahujas in their Oshiwara apartment, has gone on record stating that the complainant had a “crush” on Shiney and both used to talk to each other for hours in Marathi.

 Sangeeta has also stated that she learnt about it after the complainant herself told her about her infatuation.

 The girl’s whereabout are being kept in strict secrecy by the police, fearing the actor’s attempts to influence her and tamper with evidence.

The NCW has proposed to increase the punishment for rape from seven to 10 years, besides advocating suitable and timely compensation and rehabilitation of rape victims.

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