The Bombay High Court has upheld the conviction and 10-year sentence awarded to a 28-year-old man for sodomising and sexually assaulting three minor boys at a boarding house run by him in Pune district of Maharashtra.
Justice A M Badar last week dismissed an appeal filed by the accused - Bansidhar Ghumare - challenging a June 2015 order of a sessions court convicting and sentencing him to 10 years' imprisonment.
Ghumare, who runs the boarding house at Khed taluka in Pune district, was arrested in January 2014 for sodomising and sexually assaulting three minor boys who used to stay there.
The boys were admitted to the boarding house by their parents to learn musical instruments and to take up other religious studies.
According to the prosecution, the alleged incident took place between October 2013 and January 2014.
On January 27, 2014, the victims discussed about the incident with each other following which one of them called his parents and informed about the assault.
The parents of the other two boys were also informed, following which an FIR was lodged.
The accused, in his appeal challenging his conviction, claimed that he was falsely implicated in the case as the boys disliked the fact that he used to discipline them.
Justice Badar in his order noted that the victims were admitted to the boarding house by their parents so that, apart from normal studies, they could also get benefits of the religious studies.
"Hence, it can be held that the victims of the crime in question are from a tradition-bound society where such type of sex is still a taboo. Such incidents instill a sense of shame and casts a stigma on the victim also," the court said.
"In such a situation, it is hard to believe that just because the victims were fed up of staying in the boarding house they would make such serious allegations against the accused," the court said.
The court also relied on medical examination reports of the three victims which showed that they were subjected to penetrative sexual assault.
The accused was holding a position of trust and authority over the victims and he (accused) took advantage of this, the high court observed.
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