A Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) court in Rajkot on Friday reserved till August 26 its order on bail application of Dhaval Trivedi, the school principal arrested for allegedly abducting and repeatedly raping two minor girl students for two years.
Trivedi had filed for bail plea on August 7 after being arrested by Criminal Investigation Department (crime) from Punjab on July 21, and the two Class XI girls were rescued.
The matter came up for hearing in the court of POCSO Judge Jayesh Odedra on Friday.
Arguing the matter on behalf of Trivedi, advocate Kirit Antani told the court that the case was false since the girls had gone with the accused willingly. “One of the teenagers had complained to Trivedi that she had been sexually assaulted by one of her own family member and therefore wanted to run away from home. Besides, my client is suffering from urethral stricture, a medical condition that renders him incapable of engaging in sexual activity. For the same reason, his wife deserted him a few years ago,” Antani submitted.
However, assistant public prosecutor (APP) Mukundsinh Sarvaiya countered the argument, stating that Trivedi had taken illegal custody of the girls. “If the teenager was sexually assaulted from within her family and complained to Trivedi, the teacher should have informed the police. Instead, he took them into his own custody illegally. Even if the girls went with Trivedi out of their own will, the consent of the victims is immaterial here since they are minors. On the other hand, medical examination of the accused has confirmed that he is potent,” Sarvaiya stated.
CID (crime), the investigating agency of the case, had subjected Trivedi to a potency test at Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Medical College in the city last month. Doctors has opined that examination did not prove that he was incapable of engaging in sexual activity.
The former principal of Dr Dipchand Gardi International School near Padadhar in Rajkot district had allegedly kidnapped the 16-year-old girls from the resident school on July 25, 2012.
Antani further pleaded that 43-year-old Trivedi needed to undergo a surgery for urethral stricture and produced medical opinion, provided by a hospital in Pathankot of Punjab, in September last year. “He needs to be operated on for the condition and the medical officer at the jail has concurred with the opinion. Prima facie, he has not committed the crime. We are ready to comply with any condition to get bail,” the advocate prayed contending sections of POCSO Act were not applicable since the said offence was committed before the Act was notified in November 2012.
However, the APP refuted the argument, saying that the girls had been sexually abused for two years, as is evident from their medical examination. Therefore, it was a case of repeated rape committed even after POCSO Act was notified. Opposing the bail plea, Sarvaiya said, “Look at the conduct of the accused! He was constantly on the move and police could get hold of him after toiling for two years. He was regarded as a guru in the school. However, he betrayed the trust and if he is released on bail, it will send a wrong message to the society. Being a smart man, he will influence witnesses if left out of jail.”
Trivedi has been lodged in Rajkot central jail since early this month after his police remanded ended.
After hearing the arguments, the court reserved its order till Tuesday.