The explosive Murthal gangrape case took a turn on Saturday, after it was alleged that a Delhi-based reporter who reported on the incident had fabricated evidence.
The case had raised a furore earlier this year, when it was reported that several vehicles were stopped on NH1 by protestors in the Jat quota agitation in Haryana and a number of women were forcibly dragged into fields and raped.
The Special Investigation Team probing the case reported to the division bench of Justice SS Saron and Justice Arun Palli that a voice recording submitted by the journalist Tariq Anwar as the testimony of one of the rape victims had turned out to be the voice of a different woman. Following this report, on Saturday, amicus curae Anupam Gupta told the Punjab and Haryana High Court that Anwar should be prosecuted for providing false and fabricated evidence.
Anwarâs report had anonymously quoted two of the gangrape victims, and stated that they claimed not to have gone to the police because the police were, âhell-bent on terming the entire incident â witnessed by several people â as a ârumourââ.
The website on which Anwar's story appeared, www.firstpost.com, later retracted the report stating that they had investigated it further and found it fabricated.
The amicus curae also questioned the authenticity of another witness named Surjeet Gag, who had allegedly posted a letter on social media, purportedly written by an Australian woman raped in the incident. He told the court that the letter was a âfigment of imagination.â
However, he also cautioned against closing the case as another eyewitness testimony of a man named Raj Kumar had also been recorded, in which the man claimed that the rapes had taken place.
The 10-day agitation in February by protesting Jats had led to at least 10 deaths and crores worth of property damage. When news of the alleged multiple rapes emerged, the Haryana government had initially denied that the incident took place. In July, however, the government had stated in court that it was possible that the rapes had occurred.