NEW DELHI: An Indian court yesterday sentenced a Bollywood director to seven years in jail for raping an American research scholar last year, the victim’s lawyer said. Mahmood Farooqui, best known for co-directing the popular 2010 satire “Peepli Live” on farmer suicides, was convicted on Saturday after a fast-track court in New Delhi found him guilty of the March 2015 attack.
The victim, then aged 35, had travelled to India to seek Farooqui’s assistance with her research when the assault took place at his home in an upscale area of the capital. “The court sentenced him to seven years (of imprisonment), which is the minimum jail term for this offence,” the victim’s lawyer, Vrinda Grover, told AFP. Grover, who had argued for the maximum term of life imprisonment, said the court had also imposed a 50,000 rupee ($747) fine. Farooqui, who pleaded not guilty, was taken into custody at the weekend.
The woman returned to the US shortly after the incident but came back to report the matter to police. “Peepli Live”, which explores the divide between urban and rural India, was produced by Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan. Farooqui co-directed it with his wife, Anusha Rizwi. India introduced tough laws against sex offenders in the wake of the fatal gang-rape of a Delhi student in the capital in December 2012 that sparked mass street protests. But high levels of sexual violence against women continue. —AFP