NDTV Correspondent Monday, April 3, 2006 (Mumbai):
The verdict in the infamous case that sent shockwaves in the country has been delivered by sessions court in Mumbai six months after the trial began.
The three counts against him are – rape by a person on government duty (Art 376 (2)A & B), wrongful confinement and posing a threat to life.
The Mumbai constable has been sentenced to 12 years’ rigorous imprisonment and fined Rs 26,500 to be paid as compensation to the victim for the agony suffered by her.
And public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam says the state will now seek the maximum punishment for constable Sunil More.
"We are now going to approach the court to sentence this man we will look at all the mitigating and aggravating circumstances under the law. We will examine all those and seek the maximum punishment," said Ujjwal Nikam, Public Prosecutor.
But the court has not found More guilty on the following charges due to lack of corroborative evidence:
- Being drunk on duty.
- Asking for Rs 5000 from the girl’s companion.
Recounting the horror
The incident took place in April last year on Marine Drive, where a young couple caught the eye of constable More.
He called them to the police post, where he bullied and intimidated the boy to wait outside. He took the girl into the booth and allegedly raped her repeatedly.
When her screams drew a crowd, More brazenly walked out and told the crowd that he couldn’t be touched because he was the police.
More was rushed away to be arrested. But as news of the rape spread, so did anger and outrage.
Crowds turned their rage on the police post and police officials rushed to the site to calm tempers.
In the days to follow, crowds continued to gathered on Mumbai’s most iconic landmark, blocking traffic and asking for More’s head.
The protests spread to college campuses and was picked up by activists and citizens’ groups.
The anger was more acute because the rape came at a time when Mumbai was grappling with a new moral police where young couples had become soft targets.
Some like Shiv Sena’s newspaper Saamna stoked the anger by making a perverse connection between the rape and young girls, who in their words invite such action by dressing in a provocative manner.
But the Sena had badly misread the public mood. Even its own partner, the BJP, had condemned the rape.
The police acted swiftly and strongly. More was sacked two days after the rape and the commissioner said they would go after him with everything they had.
Slowly, the protests died and the traffic flowed once again on Marine Drive.
But the image of India’s most liberal city, its most famous promenade and its police force, had been deeply scarred. (With PTI inputs)