MUMBAI: Five years after a now 25-year-old student was booked on charges of kidnapping and sexually assaulting his 17-year-old friend, a special Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act court found that the girl, enticed by the prospect of seeing beautiful Sindhudurg, had left for the trip with the accused of her own accord.
Acquitting the man, the court said it was not an offence for friends to hold hands. “Holding of hands does not establish ingredients of sexual assault,” the court said.
The court also said that the girl was a modern girl who was aware of travelling and making friends. “College students also go to places, out of interest in travelling and enjoying. Sindhudurg is nature’s spot, known to all. The victim on her own went with the accused due to curiosity, is seen,” the court said.
The court also pointed out that girl had taken the decision herself as she was not uncomfortable in his company. “She, therefore, never raised an alarm or protested, or complained to relatives of accused, when she spoke to them,” the court said.
On July 16, 2015 the girl left home for college, but did not return home in evening. On the instructions of the girl and the accused, a common friend informed the girl’s parents that the she had gone to Kankavli. Angry, the father lodged kidnapping complaint. He told the cops that the minor was taken without permission. A day later, the father and cops reached the village and got the girl and the accused back. The girl told her parents that he had proposed marriage and “touched her hand” and later they went to the village on a bike. Charges under Pocso were added.
The court said no case of kidnapping or sexual assault was made out. “They being friends, had talk of future prospects between them…Not a case where accused and victim went away to marry. They did not indulge in any sexual activity,” the court said.



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