Chandigarh, October 1
The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday dismissed the appeals of Hardik and Karan—two former students of OP Jindal Global University, sentenced to 20 years in a fellow student’s gang-rape case.
A Division Bench of the High Court, at the same time, allowed the appeal of Vikas against his conviction and seven-year sentence in the case.
The verdict was pronounced in the open court by the Division Bench of Justice Tejinder Singh Dhindsa and Justice Pankaj Jain. The order’s copy is not yet available.
An FIR in the matter was registered on April 11, 2015, for rape, criminal conspiracy, criminal intimidation and other offences under Sections 376D, 376 (2)(n), 376, 292, 120-B and 506 of the IPC and the provisions of the IT Act at Rai police station in Sonepat.
The victim had alleged that she had taken admission in a course on August 12, 2013, and was acquainted with Hardik Sikri on November 14, 2013. They continued to be friends for a month, “during which period he forcibly indulged in physical relations with her”.
Thereafter she broke up with him, but he continued to force himself on her. He even forced her to send nude pictures, which were utilised by him to threaten and blackmail her into submission and sexual gratification. She was also forced into physical relations with Hardik’s friends Vikas Garg and Karan Chhabra, it was alleged.
Senior advocate RS Cheema with advocate Arshdeep Singh Cheema contended on Vikas Garg’s behalf that he was innocent and falsely implicated. Besides, there was also an element of improbability in the victim’s whole narrative. It was also contended that no role in blackmailing or sharing objectionable photographs was assigned to him. After hearing the rival contentions, the Bench acquitted Vikas of the charges framed against him, while dismissing the appeals of the other two.