A Delhi Court on Thursday sentenced Peepli Live co-director Mahmood Farooqui to seven years imprisonment for raping a research scholar from the United States. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000, which if not paid will earn the filmmaker three additional months in his jail term, ANI reported.
While the advocate representing the complainant had sought the maximum punishment of a life term for Farooqui, who was found guilty of raping the American woman in the national capital last year, his lawyer had pushed for minimum punishment of seven years rigorous imprisonment, according to The Indian Express.
Counsel for the woman, advocate Vrinda Grover, said: "The foreigner was here for research work but was raped by a person she knew, who was her friend and whom she had trusted...The offence of rape affects the morale of society and should be strictly dealt with. He should be awarded life imprisonment." She added that the crime had brought "disrepute to the country" and that he had an "additional responsibility on him to not conduct himself in such a manner" as he was a well-known personality.
However, Farooqui's lawyer Nitya Ramakrishnan argued that to seek life imprisonment, the police must produce evidence of special "aggravating circumstances". Ramakrishnan said: "Aggravating circumstances like the brutality or violence on part of the convict is absent in this case. He is not a habitual offender. This court should award the minimum sentence of seven years."
The 35-year-old rape survivor, who was in Uttar Pradesh for research work, had told the police that she was assaulted by the filmmaker at his Sukhdev Vihar house in southern Delhi on March 28 last year. "The woman alleged that Farooqui got drunk at a party and took her to a separate room where he forced himself on her," an officer said. She had returned to the US after the incident, but had later approached the Delhi Police through diplomatic channels and lodged a formal complaint on June 19.