The conviction of Mahmood Farooqui, co-director of Hindi film “Peepli Live” for rape is unjust, says his wife Anusha Rizvi. She says they will appeal the judgment and hope to secure justice in the High Court.
A court here on Thursday sentenced Farooqui to seven years jail after finding him guilty of raping an American woman.
Additional Sessions Judge Sanjiv Jain also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on Farooqui, who was convicted on July 30 of raping a 35-year-old woman from Columbia University who was in India for research on her doctoral thesis.
Reacting to the judgment, Rizvi said in a statement she posted on her Facebook page: “Independent record makes the charge of ‘forced oral sex’ against Mahmood Farooqui simply impossible. The conviction is unjust for it ignores irrefutable evidence on the most flimsy grounds.
“Indeed, it appears that the Judge has given more than the benefit of the doubt to the prosecution but has expected the defence to prove it’s case beyond reasonable doubt. We shall appeal the judgment.”
She added: “Lives and reputations are irretrievably lost when there is denial of justice, but our fight for rightful exoneration continues. I firmly believe that we will secure justice in the High Court.”
The American woman, who moved to Delhi in June 2014, was looking for contacts for her work in Gorakhpur and came in contact with Farooqui through a common friend. The incident occurred on March 28, 2015 when Farooqui invited her for dinner at his house.
According to the police chargesheet, the woman, who reached his house at 9 pm, found Farooqui was very intoxicated, and he asked her to go to the other room which was his office.
After 20 minutes, she left the office room to smoke in the porch when he told her to come in and sit down. After talking with her for a while, he suddenly kissed her and forced himself on her, the prosecution said, adding that the woman was scared after the incident.
During the trial, the American researcher stood by her complaint and alleged that Farooqui had raped her, while he denied the allegations, and claimed he was falsely implicated.
Reflecting on the trial, Rizvi said: “The complainant is consummately discredited by independent call and cab company records which were presented in court. The defence team has adhered to all feminist principles during the trial and no aspersions on the complainant’s character were ever cast by the defence.
The complainant and the prosecution argued that retribution is a public cry and that the nation would fall into disrepute if enhanced penalty was not awarded in a case where the complainant is a foreigner. Fortunately, the court has ignored this outrageous argument.”
Rizvi co-directed the critically acclaimed movie “Peepli Live” with her husband.