Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Phulbani, Feb 7:

The Phulbani Additional District Sessions and Special Judge Court Monday convicted and sentenced one Suraj Chhatia to 10 years of imprisonment and in addition to it imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 for raping a minor in Manikeswar village under Raikia police jurisdiction in Odisha’s Kandhamal district in 2014.

Phulbani Additional District Sessions and Special Judge Susant Patel in his verdict pronounced that Chhatia has to undergo another two years of imprisonment in the event of being able to pay the fine.

The court, however, acquitted another accused Rajani Chhatia for lack of evidence against him.

The court pronounced its verdict after examining the statements of 10 witnesses.

It is worth mentioning here that initially, Raikia police had not registered the case yielding to pressure from the accused persons.

It was after the victim met the Superintendent of Police and told him her story; Raikia police under orders of the district’s top cop registered the case.

According to case details, the incident had occurred on December 20, 2014. On that day, Rajani had gone to the nearby forest to collect firewood. He had taken the victim from a nearby village along with him to assist him to collect firewood.

While Rajani was collecting firewood in the forest a little away from the minor girl, another person from the same village-Suraj Chhatia who had also gone to collect firewood, dragged the victim away and raped her.

After committing the heinous crime, Suraj had warned the victim of dire consequences if she revealed the matter to anyone and had left the place. When Rajani returned, the victim told him about what had happened to her in the meanwhile.

To the victim’s utter shock, Rajani instead sided with Suraj and advised her to maintain silence over the matter.

The victim on reaching her home told her family about the incident. Her family visited Raikia police station to lodge a complaint. Under pressure from the accused persons, the police did not register their complaint.

Despite doing several rounds of the police station but to no avail, the family of the victim met the SP and apprised him of the incident. With the SP’s intervention in the matter, the family’s FIR was registered on January 12, 2015, at Phulbani Town police station instead of Raikia police station.

Police after registering the FIR arrested Suraj and Rajani and forwarded them to court.