PESHAWAR: A court in Lower Dir district on Tuesday remanded a woman in police custody for three days after the registration of an FIR against her for levelling false sexual assault allegation against a senior civil judge last month.

The woman,a resident of Rahimyar Khan, had alleged that senior civil judge of Lower Dir district Jamshed Kundi had raped her in his official residence.

The complaint led to the arrest of Mr Kundi by the police.

However, a joint investigation team had cleared him on Dec 3 of the charge after a probe. A day later, he secured bail from a local court.

Judge accused of sexually assaulting her cleared by JIT

Following the issuance of the JIT probe report, the Peshawar High Court removed suspension of Mr Kundi as a judge.

On Wednesday, the woman was produced before senior civil judge Essa Khan Afridi by the police, who sought her seven days physical custody. However, the judge remanded her in police custody for three days and directed them to interrogate her in prison in the presence of a jail officer and a woman police officer.

The Balambat police station had booked the woman on Dec 19 on the written complaint of Mr Kundi. The FIR was registered under sections 419, 420, 389, 500 of the Pakistan Penal Code for cheating by personation and fraud and accusing a person of an offence for extortion and defamation, and Section 22(2) of the Anti-Rape Act for giving false information to the police.

In his application, Mr Kundi said the woman along with her co-accused Aqeel Nadir Khan, a resident of Lahore, lodged an FIR against him accusing him of sexual assaulting her as they wanted to extort his 15 tolas of gold through blackmailing.

He added that when he refused to meet the demand, the two accused him of sexually assaulting the woman.

Mr Kundi insisted that the main accused also falsified her identity before the police while accusing him of sexual assault and used the same to testify before a judge on Nov 27.

He said the accused also damaged his reputation, which he had built over 20 decades long public service by levelling baseless rape charge.

On the basis of the JIT report, the local police approached senior civil judge Essa Khan Afridi on Dec 18 for the cancellation of the FIR the woman had got registered.

After examining the police report, Mr Afridi ordered the FIR’s cancellation.

He, however, raised questions in his order sheet raised about the way police handled the case and observed that the behaviour of the police seemed tilted towards the ‘so-called’ complainant for reasons ‘best known to them’.

“This case also puts question mark on the role of local police right from the registration of the FIR till the submission of case file for the cancellation of FIR,” he observed.

According to the order sheet, the complainant while faking her identity accused a sitting senior judge of committing fraud, extorting money and raping her. However, the local police didn’t verify her identity.

It also noted that even after the registration of FIR, the police didn’t deemed it expedient to inquire about the truthfulness of the allegation and instead, it arrested the accused, a judge, causing embarrassment not only to the district judiciary but to the entire institution.

“Had the local police taken a little pain of collecting evidence prior to the arrest of the accused judicial officer, which is the mandate of the law, the judiciary would not have faced embarrassment,” the order read.

On Nov 25, the complainant had informed the Lower Dir police about her alleged rape by the judge at his official residence. She insisted that the judge had asked for Rs1.5 million bribe three months ago to provide a job to her sister, but as she didn’t have that amount, she gave the judge her Rs1.5m jewellery.

The woman claimed that the judge contacted her on Nov 25 and said he was unable to secure the promised job, so she should accompany him to Lower Dir to collect her jewellery.

She added that she travelled to Lower Dir from Peshawar in the judge’s official vehicle and after she reached the judge’s official residence in Balambat Colony, he said he would return jewellery only if she agreed to have sex with him. On refusal, the judge sexually assaulted her, the woman alleged.

Published in Dawn, December 22nd, 2021



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