MP: Acquitted After 2 Years in a ‘Gang-Rape’ Case, Tribal Man Sues Police, Govt for Mental Agony

Kantilal Bheel alias Kantu has demanded a compensation of Rs 10,000 crore for damages. The court will take up the matter on January 10.

MP High Court
Madhya Pradesh High Court. Image Courtesy: PTI

Bhopal: A taunt from a fellow villager, weeks after his acquittal in a gang-rape case, forced a 30-year-old tribal from Madhya Pradesh’s Ratlam to manoeuvre an indemnity suit suing the government for loss of business, reputation, mental agony and sexual pleasure.

The father of three, Kantilal Bheel alias Kantu, a resident of Ghoda Kheda village of Ratlam district, spent two years in jail before he was acquitted by the sessions court in a case of gang rape on November 20 last year.

Ratlam Police arrested Kantu on December 23, 2020, almost two years after a woman from his village lodged an FIR at Bajna police station against Kantu and his accomplice Bhairu Singh.



He was booked under Sections 366 and 376(D) of the IPC in January 2018. In contrast, co-accused Bhairu Singh managed to secure anticipatory bail from Indore High Court under Sections 376 and 120-B.

The Indore High Court, which granted anticipatory bail to Bhairu Singh, turned down Kantu’s two bail applications in two years, pointed out Ajay Singh Yadav, his counsel.

Yadav runs an NGO which provides free legal aid to the marginalised in the Ratlam district.

Kantilal walked free on October 20, 2022, after the Ratlam District acquitted him of rape charges. The Court did not find evidence suitable to prosecute him.

Miffed with it, in an application put up before the District and Sessions Court, Ratlam, against police officials and Ratlam district collector, Kantilal demanded a compensation of Rs 10,000 crore for the damages caused during the two years of jail term for a crime he did not commit.

The Court will take up the matter on January 10.

Speaking to Newsclick, Kantilal said: “Hand in glove with the police, the woman complainant conspired against me and ruined my family and reputation. Police created fake documents to support the case and kept me behind bars for two years.”

He continued, “I went through police harassment and mental trauma. My children and wife faced a social boycott which ruined my family. Now that I am out, I find it hard to arrange food for my children.”

Kantu, a labourer, has three children and an acre of land to plough. “With no support from the village and family, my children and wife went through many hardships in the last two years.”

He sought Rs 1 crore compensation each for the loss of business and reputation on account of bodily harm and mental pain and Rs 10,000 crore for the ‘loss of god’s gift to humans’, like sexual pleasure. He separately sought Rs 2 lakh to cover the litigation cost.

Explaining his decision to claim such a huge amount, Kantilal’s lawyer Vijay Singh Yadav said that the case turned the life of his client upside down and the compensation would help his family live a respectful life.

“Kantilal’s life has been ruined by the system. He is responsible for looking after his old-age mother, wife and three children. Since he was in jail, his children had to drop out of school and survive starvation,” the lawyer said.

Yadav, who runs free legal aid, said, “When his wife approached us for aid, we filed an application to run the case on the fast track. The court conducted a full trial and acquitted him.”

In January 2018, a woman from his village filed a complaint at the Bajna police station in Ratlam, alleging that Kantilal offered to drop her at her brother’s home but took her to the jungles of Ghoda Kheda instead and raped her. The FIR further says Kantu handed over the woman to Bhairu, who raped her for six months.

The complainant had also alleged that Kantilal later handed her over to another man named Bhairu Singh (co-accused), who promised to find her work in Indore. She also alleged that she was raped repeatedly during her stay in Indore.

He further said, “The case highlights the loopholes in the system which people use to avenge their rivalry. Ironically, the complainant woman is living with the co-accused Bhairu Singh, who managed to secure bail. While Kantu, another accused, spent two years in jail for nothing.” 

In a similar case last year, the court acquitted Chandresh Marskole (36), a tribal medical student from Balaghat, who was serving a life term in a case of murdering his classmate. He spent 13 years in jail after Madhya Pradesh High Court acquitted him, terming him innocent and ordering a compensation of Rs 42 lakh to the state government.

The Madhya Pradesh High Court on May 5, 2022, overturned the July 31, 2009 trial court (of additional sessions judge, Bhopal) conviction of Marskole and his consequent life sentence for murder under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Whenever such cases made headlines, a debate broke out over the long overdue police reforms and criminal justice. The Indian justice system has no law to compensate or reparation for those who are acquitted after long periods of incarceration.

Courtesy: Newsclick



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