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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Shopian whistleblower doc now himself in the dock for rape

Victim woman’s statement recorded, investigation completed, challan produced in court

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Apr 15: Having completed investigation in less than a month with recording of statement of the sexually exploited woman before Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) of Pulwama, Police today produced challan against the suspended Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Ghulam Qadir Sofi, in the court of District & Sessions Judge of Pulwama. With scientific evidence and corroborative statements recorded before a judicial magistrate, Pulwama Police claimed to have established in 25 days of the investigation that 57-year-old Dr Sofi had committed rape on a female patient at his clinic in Pulwama township of south Kashmir in September 2009.

Interestingly, Dr Sofi and two of his colleagues had achieved the image of ‘bold whistleblowers’ in Kashmir valley last year as it were they who had confirmed ‘rape-cum-murder’ of two young woman in Shopian. Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has already found Dr Sofi, his subordinate gynecologist Dr Nighat Shaheen and four other Kashmiri doctors guilty of manufacturing a rape-cum-murder case with fudged and fabricated evidences with the motive of implicating four Police officials in a criminal matter that would have made them liable to capital punishment.

Informed sources in South Kashmir told Early Times that Pulwama Police produced challan of case FIR No: 121 of 2010, under section 376 (d), in the court of District & Sessions Judge, Mr Aijaz Ahmed Mir. Police investigation has held suspended CMO, Dr Sofi, guilty of having sexual intercourse on one of his female patients at his illegally operating clinic in September 2009. This type of act, notwithstanding consent of the victim, makes doctors and other hospital staff liable to rigorous imprisonment of five to seven years. Investigation completed in the record time of 25 days, has observed that Dr Sofi had committed the crime in an afternoon in the holy month of Ramazan, around the same time when government had promoted him ton the senior position of CMO and continued his posting in his hometown of Pulwama.

Government had removed Dr Sofi, from his duty on March 20th, placed him under suspension and ordered a departmental inquiry into the allegations against him after a video clip, showing him committing rape on a woman, came into wide circulation in Srinagar, Pulwama and Shopian districts. Taking criminal cognizance of the matter, Police Station Pulwama had on the same day registered case FIR No: 121 and begun questioning of the accused.

During the course of investigation, Police questioned the accused as well as the people associated with the act of filming Dr Sofi’s immoral act. On their disclosures, Police got the victim of the rape identified. Dr Sofi initially pleaded innocence and claimed that some people were, in fact, blackmailing and defaming him. However, during the course of sustained questioning, he spilled the beans and revealed details of his criminal act. He was formally arrested on March 25th and produced before CJM Pulwama, who initially granted his Police remand. Later, he was remanded to judicial custody and shifted to Srinagar Central Jail. His judicial remand is valid till April 17th.

Proceeding with the investigation, Police had seized a video clip in the form of a Compact Disc as also a Nokia mobilephone that had been used by two men for visual recording of the criminal act. These evidences had been sent for forensic examination to Chandigarh-based FSL of the central Crime Detection Training School (CDTS). Sources said that the CDTS report was still awaited but it had become irrelevant for the fact that the videographers have deposed before a judicial magistrate, under Section 164 CrPC, that they had filmed the fact. Mobilephone used for the secret shooting has also been seized. Besides, victim of the rape has herself revealed details and got her statement recorded before CJM Pulwama under Section 164 CrPC. With all these developments, Police have completed the investigation and produced the challan for trial in the court of District & Sessions Judge Pulwama.