Delhi court sentences Peepli Live co-director to 7 years in jail in rape case


A Delhi court has sentenced Mahmood Farooqui, the co-director of Bollywood film Peepli Live, to seven years in jail on Monday in the rape case of an American woman, reported PTI.

Delhi Police had sought life imprisonment for Peepli Live co-director Mahmood Farooqui in rape case involving an American woman.

Delhi’s Saket Court, which had convicted Farooqui of rape, reserved its order for 4 August on quantum of sentence.

Delhi Police said that the crime committed on the foreigner had brought “disrepute” to India.

While pressing for the maximum punishment for the offence under section 376 (rape) of IPC, the counsel for complainant submitted before Additional Sessions Judge Sanjiv Jain that the victim was “raped by a friend she trusted”.

However, Farooqui’s counsel Nitya Ramakrishnan said that the filmmaker suffered from bipolar disorder and has fully cooperated in the case and so he be given a chance to reform.

During arguments on sentence, the complainant’s counsel Vrinda Grover said, “The foreigner (victim) was here for research work but was raped by a person she knew, who was her friend and whom she had trusted.

“The court must keep in mind that there was an additional vulnerability of the woman in a foreign country and it brings disrepute to our country, besides traumatising the victim.”

Seeking leniency for the convict, 44-year-old Farooqui’s advocate said he was not a habitual offender and he did not threaten the woman at any point nor was he brutal or violent with her.

She also pleaded that his good conduct be considered by the court while awarding the punishment.

The court, after hearing the arguments, reserved its verdict on quantum of sentence for August 4.

The counsel for Farooqui, who was brought to the court from jail, also countered the submission of the complainant about her additional vulnerability being a foreigner, saying law does not put a foreigner on a pedestal higher than an Indian.

“Does the law put any foreigner woman on a pedestal higher than an Indian? This fact is irrelevant and makes a mockery of thousands of Indian women who suffer,” Ramakrishnan said.

The victim’s counsel, however, stressed on maximum punishment to Farooqui, saying, “He is a prominent figure in cultural world and, therefore there was additional responsibility on him to not conduct himself in such a manner.”

The police also sought appropriate compensation for the victim, contending that Farooqui has economic standing to pay her the amount for disrupting her life and research.

“It is a crime which has been held heinous by the apex court and we press for the maximum sentence and fine,” the victim’s counsel said.

The court had on July 30 held Farooqui guilty of raping the American woman last year at his house in a drunken state.

Peepli Live co-director Mahmood Farooqui
Photo: Indian Express

Farooqui, who was out on bail, was taken into custody immediately after his conviction in the case.

The offence of rape entails a minimum of seven years rigorous jail and a maximum of imprisonment for life.

The 35-year-old American researcher had alleged that Farooqui raped her in a rented accommodation at Sukhdev Vihar in Delhi.

The victim, a student at Columbia University in New York, had told the police that she was raped by the filmmaker at his Sukhdev Vihar house in southern Delhi on 28 March last year.

In her complaint to Delhi Police, she had alleged that Farooqui had raped her when she had gone to meet him subsequently for help on her research.

“The amendment to the criminal law in 2013 introduced forced oral sex. This is perhaps one of the first cases of forced oral sex, which shows two things: that there was a crime for which we did not earlier have an offence named — now it has been recognised as rape. We’re also very happy to see that the court relied on very credible evidence that the woman gave,” Advocate Vrinda Grover, counsel for the complainant, told The Indian Express.

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She alleged Farooqui raped her when she had gone to meet him to get help for her research work. She claimed to have met Farooqui in Varanasi where she had gone to collect information.

The complainant had alleged that she “did not resist” the rape primarily because she feared she would face the same consequences as that of the victim of the Nirbhaya. During the final arguments, Grover had told the court that the complainant knew that if she resisted, the “consequences would be worse.”