Whatsapp is one of the most used messaging apps where we mindlessly write our hearts out and chat about anything and everything. What if these conversations are turned into legal evidence? Three law students at Sonepat University have been found guilty of gang rape and blackmailing the victim, their junior after WhatsApp conversations were accepted as evidence. This is probably for the first time ‘when electronic data used as evidence to nail the accused in India’. According to Hindustan Times reports, two main accused Hardik Sikri and his friend Karan Chhabra are sentenced to 20 years in prison while Vikas Garg, their accomplice was handed a seven-year-jail term.
In a rare instance, three students of Global Jindal University in Sonepat were convicted of gang-raping and blackmailing their junior on the basis of electronic data – WhatsApp chats. The victim was their junior management student, with whom the three continued the horrific crime for two years when she joined the university in 2013. All of them are from Delhi, and the boys have been in jail since April 2015 after the girl accused them of rape.
“The WhatsApp chats running into pages is so abusive and vulgar that the extracts of the same cannot be explained and put into the judgment and what only can be concluded through the WhatsApp chat is that the prosecutrix (victim) was totally under control and dominance of the accused, Hardik,” additional sessions judge (ASJ) Sunita Grover said in her judgment.
Hardik Sikri, one the prime accused had stored nude pictures of the girl in Apple’s I-cloud, a web storage platform. He not only circulated her photos among his friends on free messaging service but also blackmailed to make them public on the university’s website. The trial court judge also found Hardik guilty of circulating obscene material, and it became from the evident that girl was under ‘stress’ and ‘duress’ to keep sharing more nude pictures of hers to Hardik.
The ordeal for the girl didn’t end with her naked images circulating among random people. Hardik forced her to purchase and use a sex toy so that he could watch her via Skype, an online service for sharing text messages and live videos. He also forced her to travel to Chandigarh to have sex with him. The conversations proved all of these and backed victim’s claims of being raped and blackmailed by her perpetrators. The judge ruled out defence’s attempt of tarnishing girl’s image and proving it to be a consensual act.