The Bombay High Court recently refused to quash an FIR against a pilot working with Indian Navy, alleging that he raped an airhostess, who wished to improve her qualification to become a commercial pilot, and cheated her with a false promise of marriage.
The FIR claimed the petitioner made the complainant believe he was a divorcee, and on the promise of marriage to the complainant, he sexually exploited and raped her. The HC held that it cannot be said the petitioner was falsely implicated in the matter and dismissed his plea.
A division bench of Justices Nitin W Sambre and NR Borkar, earlier this month passed an order to quash the FIR registered in 2021 by the petitioner. The petitioner was introduced to the complainant through a common acquaintance, she alleged that he managed to convince her that he was the right person who could extend technical and financial assistance to her.
The complainant said that taking undue advantage of such a relationship, he introduced himself as a divorcee, assured her of marriage and raped her, which prompted her to register a complaint.
Shirish Gupte, senior advocate for the petitioner, sought quashing and setting aside of the FIR and chargesheet. He claimed that the relationship between the two was consensual, and the complainant was aware about the petitioner’s marital status.
Gupte added that the FIR would depict that the petitioner advanced money to the complainant as and when she demanded, and bore expenses for her training to become a pilot. He added that the matter boomeranged, as the ‘false’ complaint was registered when the pilot asked the complainant to return the amount he had given her.
The petitioner said the offence of rape cannot be made out against him as he had not promised marriage to the complainant, and therefore the FIR be set aside.
The complainant, through advocate Hemant Ingale, however, opposed the plea and said that she had already returned a large part of the amount she received from the petitioner.
After perusing submissions and material on record, referring to cheating charges, the bench noted, “The intention of the petitioner to cheat the complainant since the beginning can be inferred, which in fact, prima facie, satisfy the very ingredients of offence punishable under section 420 (cheating) of the IPC.”
It added that if contention of consensual physical relationship was to be believed, the same was under the promise of marriage by petitioner, and not otherwise. “The consent, if any, cannot be said to be out of free will. Rather such consent can be said to be coerced,” the bench noted and dismissed the plea.