Raintree rape case verdict is unconvincing: ACC must investigate role of money23 November 2021 Editorial Desk
The controversial observation made in the verdict of the Raintree hotel rape case asking police not to record any rape complaint after 72 hours of incident, that drew widespread criticism across the country has been dropped from the final text. Frankly speaking, we found such direction not so wrong. It was possible the judge made this comment finding confusing evidence.
Five accused charged with raping two university students have all been acquitted. The victims lost the legal battle on one hand and were disgraced socially on the other, as their personal lives and privacy were made public in the trial. They fought the legal battle for more than four years seeking justice and are now enduring double whammy. On November 11, the judge of the Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal-7, acquitted Shafat Ahmed, the son of Apan Jewellers co-owner, and four others of charges of raping two university students at the hotel in capital's Banani in 2017.
According to the verdict, the medical reports on the victims did not find any sign of sexual violation because the case was filed 38 days after the incident. Five accused were in the reputed hotel after drink and dinner in the restaurant. The excitement took long night. Only for the delay it is possible the doctor was misled.
It is no doubt the long delay of 38 days is questionable and that is why we strongly feel the process of justice beginning from police investigation needs to be gone into. It was an angrily protested rape case. But medical report may not be conclusive. It is possible the police failed to obtain evidence. They are good at obtaining evidence in police remand.
The accused are rich people and were facing death sentence. It is conviction that harsh punishment makes people desperate to do anything. To save himself. In the present case, there is reason that money played the big decisive role all around and outside the court to make miscarriage of justice. There will be appeal but the corruption will not be easily detected from the letter evidence.
We cannot allow the alleged five rapists of university students go unpunished without investigation of corruption and threats used by money power. Although people have lost faith in institutions because of the power of corruption but we have to be reassured that in the rape cases concerned there were no fouled course of justice at any stage. The Anti-Corruption Commission should investigate the role of money in distorting evidence leading to an unconvincing judgement affecting faith in the judiciary.