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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

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Man convicted of raping underage stepdaughter based on DNA report gets 20 years in prison

A special POCSO court convicted a 40-year-old man of repeatedly raping his 14-year-old stepdaughter and sentenced him to 20 years in prison.

The 40-year-old was booked under relevant sections of India’s Penal Code and Child Protection Act from Sex Offenses. The survivor is 14 years old and studying in class IX. Her biological father was an alcoholic, so her mother divorced him and remarried.

It was alleged that in October 2019, when she was sleeping on the floor next to her sisters, the victim felt hands on her body and when she woke up, she found her stepfather sleeping next to her. When she tried to stop him, the man clamped her mouth and forced intercourse on her, threatening her with her life if she revealed it.

When her mother returned to her hometown, the man again had forced sexual intercourse with the girl. When the mother returned from her journey, the girl told her everything. The woman took her daughter to the hospital, where they discovered she was 16 weeks pregnant. An FIR was filed and charges were filed against the stepfather.

During the trial, the man’s lawyer told the court that the girl and her mother had become hostile. The court will now have to rely on DNA reports.

“The victim girl has admitted that her stepfather is in prison and is the only earning member of the family. The mother is not willing to keep him behind bars. She has stated that whatever was done wrong by her stepfather, she wants to apologize to him and not keep him behind bars.

However, the special court convicted the stepfather based on DNA reports. “The crime is horrific, a stepfather who committed repeated rapes on the victim girl, a child under the age of 18. The DNA report established that the victim girl was pregnant and that the suspect is the biological father… It is indeed a sad, very serious and horrific act of the suspect,” the court said.

While noting that the prosecution had proved reasonable doubt through scientific evidence, the court said: “Although the victim’s mother and the girl have chosen not to support the prosecution and have become hostile, scientific evidence in the form of a DNA test report proves the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.”

“The evidence and records clearly show that, despite the prosecution’s witness becoming hostile, the prosecution has conclusively proved its case against the accused,” the court further noted.

The special court then approved its order and convicted the stepfather and sentenced him to a harsh prison term of 20 years. The court also fined the man and said that if the fine is recovered, an amount of Rs 34,000 must be paid to the survivor.

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