The Delhi high court on Monday acquitted co-director of Bollywood film ‘Peepli Live’ of charges of raping a US researcher. The court set aside a trial court verdict that had sentenced him to seven years in jail.

Quashing the rape charges against 44-year-old filmmaker, the HC raised doubts over veracity of the incident and observed that victim had not filed First Information Report (FIR) on time.

In June 2015, Delhi Police had lodged an FIR against Farooqui following complaint from an American woman of India descent. Police in its charge sheet had alleged that Farooqui had sexually assaulted the Columbia University research scholar at his Sukhdev Vihar residence in south Delhi in March 2015.

According to reports, the two were at a party where Farooqui had reportedly gotten drunk and taken her to a different room in the house and raped her.

The trial in the case had started on September 9, 2015, while the woman had recorded her statement on September 14, 2015.

In July 2016, the sessions court had held Farooqui guilty of rape sentencing him to seven years in jail. However, Farooqui had challenged the verdict in high court.

Farooqui is married to film director and screenwriter Anusha Rizvi, who directed the 2010 Indian satirical comedy film Peepli Live which explores the topic of “farmer suicides”. The film was India’s official entry for the 83rd Academy Awards Best Foreign Film category, although it was not nominated. The film had received great reviews from critics and audience alike and did a business of ₹40 million (US$620,000) on its very first day. ‘Peepli Live’ also went on to win many awards.