Three miscreant law students of a Haryana’s private university would have never imagined that their conversations on WhatsApp with a girl they raped would emerge as prime evidence in their conviction.
According to a Hindustan Times report, in a rare case of electronic data recognised as evidence, a trial court in Haryana acknowledged the WhatsApp chat to nail the accused.
On May 24, the court sentenced the three former law students of OP Jindal Global University in Sonepat – 20 years imprisonment to main accused Hardik Sikri and his friend Karan Chhabra for gangraping and blackmailing a junior management student for two years, and seven-year jail term to third accused Vikas Garg.
“The WhatsApp chats running into pages is so abusive and vulgar that the extracts of the same cannot be explained and put into the judgment and what only can be concluded through the WhatsApp chat is that the prosecutrix (victim) was totally under control and dominance of the accused, Hardik,” additional sessions judge (ASJ) Sunita Grover was quoted by Hindustan Times as saying.
The three convicts, all residents of Delhi, are in jail since April 2015 when the girl accused them of raping her from the time she joined the university in August 2013.
Hardik, the prime accused, had shared her nude pictures with his friends through WhatsApp. He had also threatened the victim to make the pictures public on the university’s website.
ASJ Grover said that the WhatsApp messages proved that the victim was forced to keep sharing more nude pictures with Hardik.
According to the report, he had also forced her to purchase and use a sex toy so that he could watch her via Skype, and online service for live video chats.
Hardik had forced her to travel with him to Chandigarh for having sex and this was proved by the WhatsApp conversation, which the court considered as documentary evidence supporting the victim’s statement.
The court rejected the defence argument that the girl was a consensual partner as she had admitted to have consumed drugs and had volunteered to purchase beer on their Chandigarh trip.
The judge referred to the conversations and said that the accused were in a dominating position because they were her seniors and the victim was in a vulnerable state.
The judge also disagreed with the defence advocate’s attempt to tarnish the girl’s reputation, saying a rape victim cannot be viewed as an accomplice.