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SC refuses to consider rape plea against Khandu


The Supreme Court on Friday declined to entertain a plea filed by a woman seeking police protection and permission to approach the Delhi High Court for legal remedies regarding her complaint of gang rape by four persons, including Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked the woman to approach the jurisdictional high court with her grievances and seek police protection from authorities there.

The bench was also not impressed by the fact that she complained of rape 10 years after the alleged incident. The woman from Arunachal Pradesh, apprehending danger to her life, had approached the apex court seeking protection and permission to approach the Delhi High Court for legal remedies in the case. The victim also stated that she was facing difficulty in pursuing legal remedy in Arunachal Pradesh.

She claimed that she had attempted to lodge a formal complaint in 2015 but the Itanagar police officers were reluctant to register the case. She added that she later approached the Chief Judicial Magistrate but in 2016 her plea was declined citing lack of jurisdiction. The petitioner said she was 15 years old when the alleged incident took place, in the year 2008, and was working in a Public Call Office in Arunachal Pradesh at the time.

She alleged that a man named Phurma Lama had lured her into a meeting under the pretext of helping her get a government job and during the meeting she met three others, including Pema Khandu, who introduced himself as an Army colonel. During the meeting, she was given soft drinks laced with drugs and while she was unconscious, the four men raped her, the woman claimed.

She was threatened against disclosing the incident to anyone and she did not immediately register a formal complaint, the petition said. She said she was not aware of the real identities of the alleged offenders and it was only in 2012, after seeing his photographs in the newspaper, that she came to identify Pema Khandu as the (then) Tourism Minister of the State.

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