Oberoi of rape, was accused by her own lawyer of staging an attack on herself, and 10 days after the Bombay high court reprimanded the police for conducting a shoddy investigation, she was finally arrested on Monday (June 17). Here are eight questions about the delay where answers are still not forthcoming.
1. The woman’s lawyer Ali Kaashif Khan, named by the four accused held for the attack on her in Andheri on May 25, surrendered on June 3 and told police the woman had plotted the attack on herself. For this she had roped in his cousin and three others, he said. His surrender took place on a Monday morning. Why was the woman not called for questioning the same day that he named her? Why the special treatment for her?
2. The Bombay HC on June 7, while granting bail to Oberoi, asked police during hearing why they had not arrested the woman for the “false FIR” of assault. “It is a serious matter. What is preventing you from arresting her?” Justice Revati Mohite-Dere was assured by police of taking “appropriate steps against the woman as mastermind of the attack.’’ Why, then, was the woman still not summoned for questioning straightaway and arrested? What greater legal sanction did they need to obtain in order to take action?
3. The actor’s lawyer Dinesh Tiwari had argued in sessions court that cops needed to look at texts exchanged between Oberoi and the rape accuser, saying that would make clear the woman had “no case” of rape to make. The sessions court didn’t agree with this contention but HC on June 7 took it into account while granting Oberoi bail and asked cops during his bail hearing, “Why have you not taken the phones yet?” The “The officer is expected to investigate impartially and fairly… What kind of investigation is this?” Why then were her phones taken only on June 10, three days after the HC reprimand, and not immediately allowing ample time to delete possibly incriminating evidence, if any, in such cases?
4. The HC even doubted the veracity of the rape FIR and observed, “In fact, investigation reveals that the complainant herself staged her own attack, the obvious reason being to ensure that the applicant (Oberoi) is not released on bail.” How is it that no urgency was shown by the police at least at this stage to call her for questioning?
5. The HC said police could investigate allegations by the woman’s lawyer that she was into black magic and voodoo. Practising black magic is a punishable offence in Maharashtra. Why was this not probed?
6. How does any probe get carried out at all without interrogating the woman accused of filing a false FIR?
7. Oberoi was arrested on a Sunday, barely 24 hours after the woman filed her complaint, thus ensuring he had to spend at least a night in lock-up before he was produced him in court for remand next day (he eventually spent a month in jail). Isn’t this promptness at odds with their slow approach later?
8. Oberoi had filed noncognizable complaints against the woman in October 2018 for allegedly threatening to file a false case against him. Why was this not taken into account by the police at any stage of the probe, especially after the HC categorically observed: “The officer was also aware of the NC lodged by the woman in 2018, against Oberoi, where there was no mention of rape etc. With all this material before him, the officer ought to have examined her rape FIR fairly and impartially, before mechanically effecting the actor’s arrest.”