A 41-year-old man from Kudva village in neighbouring Palghar district was sentenced to ten years rigorous imprisonment by a court for raping a tribal woman in 2014.
Additional Sessions Judge S C Khalipe also slapped a fine of Rs. 5,000 on convict Tatu Mavji Pawar.
According to the prosecution, the incident took place on November 10, 2014 when her in-laws and two children had gone to meet some relatives and her husband was away on work at Sahapur.
The woman was asleep at home with her youngest child when the man barged in at around midnight and sexually assaulted her. As she raised an alarm, Pawar gagged her and threatened her with dire consequences, the court was told.
The prosecution said that six months prior to the incident Pawar had raped her. She had informed her family about it, but the matter was put to rest after the village elders intervened and let him off after a warning.
Awarding the sentence, the judge said, “Considering all the evidence on record, the court has come to the conclusion that the evidence of the victim and the witnesses is natural, trustworthy and believable.
“The court has come to the conclusion that the prosecution has proved that the accused committed sexual intercourse against wish and will of the victim.
“The accused gagged her mouth and committed sexual intercourse. The victim shouted but as the accused had gagged her mouth she could not be heard by the neighbours. It has come on record that there are houses in the neighbourhood of the victim but it was midnight when the incident took place.”
Since he had also committed the same offence six months prior to the date of incident, the judge said he was not liable for leniency. “The offence is of sexual assault, therefore the accused is not entitled to the benefit of Probation of Offenders Act,” he said.
The man was convicted for offences under sections 376 (rape), 452 (house trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint) and 506 (2) (criminal intimidation) of IPC.