The woman who has accused former ET Now anchor Varun Hiremath of rape has written to Delhi Police Commissioner S N Shrivastava and Home Minister Amit Shah demanding to know why the police has failed to arrest him in 50 days.
Accused of rape, sexual assault and confinement, the 28-year-old has been was granted interim protection from arrest on Friday by Delhi high court. He has been directed to join the investigation when the police require him. Although he is currently absconding, the court said it would take up the matter again on April 16, according to media reports.
In her letter, the 22-year-old survivor also asked why the police and the public prosecutor had failed in their duties to demand Hiremath’s presence at the time of filing an anticipatory bail application in court. She questioned why the prosecutor did not file an application under CrPC Section 438 which would have directed “compulsory presence of the absconding offender” at the stage of his anticipatory bail application. The woman’s lawyer said the court granted the anticipatory bail despite the fact that her counsel too was absent.
On February 20, the woman had filed a complaint detailing that she had been allegedly raped by Hiremath at a hotel in Chanakyapuri. Delhi Police has charged Hiremath with Sections 376 (punishment of offence of rape), 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement) and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) on February 23.
After the criminal complaint was filed, Times Network confirmed to the media that Hiremath was longer associated with them.
In his anticipatory bail application, Hiremath claimed that he has been “falsely implicated” in the case and that the duo had engaged in consensual sex. It claimed that the 22-year-old survivor’s intentions were clear because she had come to Delhi to meet him and went to the double occupancy room “willingly after giving her identity documents to the hotel management”. She, however, has said in the complaint that her identity documents were shared with the hotel as part of COVID-19 protocol and cannot be considered as consent.
The young woman’s fight for justice has not been easy against Hiremath, the son of a Mumbai-based pharmaceutical business owner. In her letter, she also asks why the investigating officers had failed to take any action against Hiremath and said he has “escaped being arrested by the Delhi Police on two separate occasions”. She has also alleged that a woman police officer had mocked her for writing letters to the Commissioner, stating that the officer used the words ‘naivety and nuisance’ against her.
Even in court, she has not found solace. In a letter written last month to the Chief Justice of India S A Bobde, she sought to shed light on the additional sessions judge’s “insensitive, inappropriate and traumatising” behaviour during an anticipatory bail hearing in the case.
Despite her best attempts to get justice, she said that her last resort was to write to the Home Minister that this “gross miscarriage of justice” will be looked into. In a country where “female empowerment” is on the election manifesto of every party, reality paints a starkly different picture and the rallying cry for ‘beti padhao, beti bachao’ falls on deaf ears.
(Edited by Amrita Ghosh)