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South African judge held on rape charge

Sirajuddin Mohammed Ibrahim Desai, a South African high court judge who came to attend the World Social Forum, comes out of a court in Mumbai
Sirajuddin Mohammed Ibrahim Desai, a South African high court judge who came to attend the World Social Forum, comes out of a court in Mumbai on Monday. Desai was arrested on the charge of raping a woman delegate from his own country.
— PTI photo

Mumbai, January 19
A South African high court judge, attending the anti-globalisation conference here, has been arrested on the charge of raping a woman delegate from his own country, the police said today.

Sirajuddin Mohammed Ibrahim Desai (53), a judge in Cape Town, was arrested last night and produced before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate B.A. Shellar who remanded him in police custody till January 23.

The accused made an oral plea for bail but the Magistrate said he had no powers to grant bail for the first seven days in the police remand and that Desai would have to move the sessions court for liberty.

His lawyer C.S. Irani, who denied the charge in the court, told reporters later that he may move the sessions court tomorrow for bail.

The judge and the alleged victim are here to participate in the ongoing World Social Forum, the police informed the court.

The victim was working as a Project Manager of the AIDS Awareness Resources Trust in South Africa. She stayed in the same hotel where the judge was putting up.

Medical tests had already been conducted on the judge and the victim and material evidence seized from the hotel room had been sent to a forensic laboratory, the police said.

According to remand application submitted by the police to the court, the judge and the victim had gone to a pub in the late hours and returned to the hotel at 2.15 a.m yesterday.

They went to their respective rooms but after some time the judge called the woman to his room and allegedly forced her to have sex with her, the police alleged.

The police claimed they were in possession of the condom used by the accused.

However, Desai’s lawyer denied that his client had raped the victim saying if it were so then how the condom was given to the police by the victim herself. He refuted allegations of rape and said the victim’s complaint was a “fabricated” story.

As per the orders of the court, the accused has surrendered his passport to the police.

Irani said the use of condom in the alleged crime clearly establishes that this incident was not a rape.

The defence advocate also argued that no physical marks of injuries were found on the person of the accused. — PTI


Judge’s arrest makes headlines in SA

Durban, January 19
The arrest of a South African judge in Mumbai for allegedly raping a woman from his own country is making headlines in newspapers and the electronic media here.

Fiftythree-year-old Sirajuddin Mohammed Ibrahim Desai, a judge in Cape Town who was attending the World Social Forum in India was arrested last night for allegedly raping a woman delegate.

The judge reportedly sent an SMS message to the Star newspaper in Johannesburg to deny the allegations.

“I am innocent. I find rape offensive,” he said in the SMS, according to a report in the newspaper. — PTI

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