Fate seems to have come hard on Gopal Shetye, a victim of a botched-up rape case, who was acquitted of all charges by the Bombay High Court but only after spending seven years in jail.
Gopal Shetye is currently sitting on a hunger strike at Azad Maidan, waiting for a chance to meet Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to present his case.
On July 29, 2009, it was just another routine day for Gopal as he began his job in the kitchen of a Ghatkopar hotel, thinking about his two daughters and wife. Then, a few policemen in plain clothes came and took him.
“I was kept in Kurla GRP custody for three days. In spite of my repeated request, they did not tell me the reason for my detention,” said Shetye.
Police eventually told Gopal he was arrested for raping a 28-year-old woman from Aurangabad, who was sleeping on the railway bridge of Ghatkopar station on July 19.
“I was shocked and told them that they have made a mistake, but all my pleas fell on deaf ears,” Shetye was quoted as saying in DNA.
It so happened that Shetye was arrested because the woman claimed she was raped by a man called ‘Gopi’. “And I was arrested because my name is Gopal,” Shetye ranted.
In ten months, Shetye was convicted and sent to seven years in jail. After several appeals, the Bombay High Court on June 10, 2015, gave a decision in his favour and acquitted him of all counts.
“But will I ever get back my seven years? Will I get my family back? I have suffered all this while because some policemen decided to frame me in the case. I want justice now; I want them to be punished as well,” argued Shetye.
“Everything has changed for me. I am a rapist for the world. That is my new identity, but I am not ready to live with it,” he added.
“I am out on the road but I want my daughters out of the orphanage. I want to give them a better life. I want to meet the CM for justice.”