U.S. Citizen Rape Case: Peepli Live Filmmaker Mahmood Farooqui Acquitted
The Delhi High Court on Sept. 25 acquitted Mahmood Farooqui, the co-director of the Peepli Live film of rape charges, setting aside a lower court judgment that sentenced him to seven years in jail for raping a U.S. citizen. The court ordered the immediate release of Farooqui, who is currently serving his sentence.
The Delhi High Court, during the judgment, raised questions over the authenticity of the complaint lodged by the American citizen, and added that the victim delayed the filing of the First Information report. After the hearing, the high court quashed the rape charges imposed on Farooqui, giving him the benefit of doubt.
The incident that Farooqui was accused of allegedly happened on March 28, 2015, when an American citizen of Indian origin complained to the police that she was raped by Farooqui at his Sukhdev Vihar residence in New wDelhi. The two were at a party that day, and Farooqui who was reportedly drunk, took her to the room and forced her to have sex with him.
The victim was a student at the Columbia University in New York. She met Farooqui at Varanasi, and he later helped her in her research work.
Following the woman’s complaint, the police lodged an FIR against Farooqui on June 19, 2015. He was arrested soon, and the trial began on Sept. 9 that year. The victim herself appeared in the court on Sept. 14, 2015, and recorded her statement. Following the hearing, the sessions court on July 30, 2016, held Farooqui guilty of rape, and sentenced him to seven years imprisonment. He was also fined Rs 50,000.
Farooqui immediately challenged the verdict in the Delhi High Court.
Mahmood Farooqui is married to film director Anusha Rizvi. The couple directed the 2010 satirical film, Peepli Live, which received critical acclaim. The film dealt with the serious issue of farmer suicide, and was India’s official entry to the Oscars in the Best Foreign Film category although it was not nominated.