The family of the Park Street rape victim on Saturday asserted they will appeal to the higher courts against the quantum of sentence slapped on the three accused, as they are unhappy with the role of the public prosecutor who “almost defended the defendants”.
“Initially when I heard the quantum of sentence, I thought it was ok. But when I learnt that the PP (public prosecutor) has almost defended the defendants... that’s what made me realise that something has taken a wrong turn somewhere.
“They are going to get some advantage from the PP’s request that they be given a minimum sentence, that they were not directly involved,” the father of the late victim told a local television channel here.
All the three men convicted in the gang-rape of an Anglo-Indian woman on Park Street here were on Friday sentenced to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment, which is the minimum punishment for those convicted under the Indian Penal Code’s section 376 (2)(g).
“My daughter is dead... doesn’t the PP realise that? If a PP is fighting for you for four years then the sentence should match the conviction, then the PP can’t defend the defendants.
“My question is how can this be done? I do not want them (accused) to get further advantages from this error, this mistake. I am appealing to the higher courts to stop any advantage that they might get. My appeal will be solely against the quantum. I am not happy with the quantum because of what transpired later in the case,” the father added.
Pronouncing the sentence during in-camera proceedings, Additional Sessions Judge Chiranjib Bhattacharya also slapped fines of Rs.1 lakh each on the three accused - Ruman Khan, Naser Khan and Sumit Bajaj.
The woman – then 40 years old, a divorcee and mother of two – was beaten up and gang-raped by five men at gun-point inside a moving car and then thrown off the vehicle near a city intersection on the night of February 5, 2012, after she had come out of a night club on fashionable Park Street. Prime accused Kader Khan and co-accused Mohammed Ali were still absconding.
Sacked prosecutor refuses to budge
After getting sacked by the West Bengal government, special public prosecutor in the Park Street gang-rape case Sharbani Roy, was as adamant as ever, even going as far to declare that whatever she had done was the right thing. Stating that she did not care about being removed, she even alleged that the real criminal was still at large. Sharbani was relieved of her duties after she allegedly told a court in Kolkata that the three accused in the 2012 case were not directly involved in the actual crime and should be given the minimum punishment of 10 years in jail.