‘Peepli Live’ Film Director sentenced to 7 years imprisonment for raping US scholar

A special fast track court on Thursday sentenced filmmaker Mahmood Farooqui to seven years imprisonment, held guilty of raping a research scholar from the United States in Delhi last year.

Additional Sessions Judge Sanjiv Jain, who had found Farooqui guilty under section 376 (punishment for rape) of the IPC – awarded minimum punishment of seven years in jail.

Farooqui, co-director of the 2010 satirical comedy Peepli (Live), and an exponent of the centuries’ old art of Urdu storytelling called Dastangoi, was accused of raping the 30-year-old research scholar from Columbia University at his home in south Delhi’s Sukhdev Vihar on March 28, 2015.

Delhi Police Tuesday had sought maximum punishment of life imprisonment for filmmaker Mahmood Farooqui, who has been held guilty of raping a research scholar from the United States in Delhi last year, and said he had brought “disrepute to the country”. Police added that since he “occupies high status in the society”, there was “an additional responsibility on him not to conduct himself in a such a manner”.

The woman had first met Farooqui in Varanasi where she had gone in connection with her research on Baba Gorakhnath. In her complaint to Delhi Police, she had alleged that Farooqui had raped her when she had gone to meet him subsequently for help on her research.

During the trial that began on September 9, the woman alleged that after raping her, Farooqui had apologised in several emails that he wrote to her. The email exchanges and call detail records were key pieces of corroborative evidence presented by the prosecution during the trial, besides the testimony of the complainant.

The woman told the court that she had texted — and later, told over the phone — details of the incident to a friend who had introduced her to Farooqui. She told the court that she had WhatsApped the friend about being “upset” with Farooqui, and after sending the messages, had taken a taxi. During the ride, she had spoken to the friend by phone, narrating the incident.

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