BY ADEDIWURA OKELEYE
Peepli Live director, Mahmood Farooqui has been sentenced to seven years imprisonment for the rape of a 30-year-old American student of Columbia University at his house last year in March.
The sentence was delivered on Thursday, August 4, 2016 by Judge Sanjiv Jain after Mahmood was found guilty under Section 376 (rape) of the IPC.
Mahmood Farooqui was said to have met the student through his old friend Danish Hussain who the student also contacted immediately the incident occurred. In her testimony, the student said Farooqui was drunk when she met him at his house and that he kissed her and forced her to perform oral sex on him. She said she was scared to resist so as to prevent getting killed.
Farooqui’s defence was that he was being falsely accused. This was dismissed by the court.
“There is no reason to observe for the prosecutrix to falsely implicate the accused. Also, the delay in lodging of the FIR has been satisfactorily explained. Thus, I find no hesitation to conclude that the prosecution has proved the guilt of accused beyond reasonable doubt quo the charge of rape,”the court concluded.
Reacting to the sentence, Mahmoud’s wife and co-director of Peepli Live, Anusha Rizvi said in a statement she posted on her Facebook page: “Independent record makes the charge of ‘forced oral sex’ against Mahmood Farooqui simply impossible. The conviction is unjust for it ignores irrefutable evidence on the most flimsy grounds.
“Indeed, it appears that the Judge has given more than the benefit of the doubt to the prosecution but has expected the defence to prove it’s case beyond reasonable doubt. We shall appeal the judgment.
“Lives and reputations are irretrievably lost when there is denial of justice, but our fight for rightful exoneration continues. I firmly believe that we will secure justice in the High Court.”