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A man, accused of raping a 25-year -old US tourist in a 5-star hotel here along with three others, today claimed before a court that he should be discharged from the case as there was no evidence against him. Aniruddha Singh also cited a delay of eight months in lodging of the FIR to support his plea. He filed the discharge application before Additional Sessions Judge D K Sharma, who presides over the special fast track court set up to exclusively deal with cases of sexual offences against women, saying it is unbelievable that a citizen of such an advanced country was so reluctant to lodge a complaint. His plea, however, was opposed by the police and the counsel for the complainant woman saying that the CCTV footage of the hotel where the alleged incident took place and a mobile phone have been sent to the forensic laboratory in Hyderabad and the report is awaited. The court after hearing arguments listed the matter for further hearing on March 21. The woman's advocate submitted that she was drugged and raped by the accused. Several date rape drugs are available in the market and the victims are unable to remember anything after being administered the medication, the counsel said. He also said there was no reason why a foreigner will falsely implicate the accused and that her travel expenses were borne by legal aid authority as she did not have the means to travel to India. However, the counsel for the accused said the charge sheet was only based on the woman's statement given to a magistrate under section 164 CrPC and there was no other evidence against them.
He further said there was a delay of eight months in lodging of the FIR.
The defence lawyer claimed that the woman filed the case to get a compensation from the US authorites under the American law.
During the hearing, the court asked the woman's counsel to inform it on the next date of hearing as to when she can come to India for giving evidence.
The case was marked to the sessions judge today by the district judge after a magisterial court earlier took cognisance of the charge sheet.
In the charge sheet, Delhi Police has alleged that the accused -- Aniruddha Singh, a Rajasthan-based tourist guide, Vivek Srivastava, who was working in the hotel when the crime was allegedly committed, Omprakash and Maqsood -- raped the woman in April last year and threatened her.
It has alleged the accused had also committed unnatural sex with her and that they also made videos of the act.
All the four men have been chargesheeted for alleged offences of gangrape, unnatural sex, causing hurt by means of poison and voluntarily causing hurt, criminal intimidation and common intention under the IPC. The police had on December 26 last year arrested all the four in connection with the alleged rape of the woman. The US national had arrived here last December to join the probe and recorded her statement before a magistrate saying she was raped by five men in the hotel. The four accused were arrested after the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) issued a notice to the police asking them why the Rape Crisis Cell of the panel was not informed when the her statement was recorded. Earlier, the complainant had said she was "not satisfied" with the probe and was ready to come to India to identify the accused. The woman had alleged that she was raped by the men for two days and also threatened with dire consequences if she reported the matter to anybody. She had also stated that the men had made videos of the act and threatened to make those public if she reported the matter. She had also told the police that the accused had claimed to have sexually assaulted a couple of other owmen tourists as well. A team of psychologists and psychiatrists had assisted the woman in recalling the details of the incident.