The Bombay High Court on Wednesday granted anticipatory bail to education baron Shivajirao Jondhale, observing that medical records of the complainant, who had accused him of rape and offences under Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, indicated that she was schizophrenic.
On Tuesday, Justice Mridula Bhatkar heard Dombivali-based Jondhale’s anticipatory bail plea and an intervention application filed by the complainant, who is a former teacher at one of the institutions run by Jondhale’s trust.
“Considering the facts of the case and the mental health report, which discloses that the complainant is schizophrenic, and also considering the contents of the FIR and the supplementary statement, I am of the view that the applicant/accused can be protected by granting pre-arrest bail,” Justice Bhatkar observed.
The complainant, who is a member of the scheduled tribe, had alleged that at the time of her interview for the post of an assistant teacher in 2004, Jondhale, the president of the school trust, touched her inappropriately and kissed her.
The complainant’s lawyer told the court that she had suffered sexual harassment between 2004 and 2014. “He is an influential person and he has raped her on a number of occasions,” the lawyer alleged.
The complainant had earlier filed a petition alleging police inaction. A division bench of the high court had, however, observed that police’s probe was under way and said, “no interference is warranted”. Without expressing any opinion on the merits of the case, the bench had directed the police to complete the probe expeditiously.
“The accused (Jondhale) told the petitioner (teacher) that it was a general practice of his establishment to appease him by continued sexual and carnal intercourse by any woman employee of the educational institutions of his trust,” the complainant had alleged.
While granting Jondhale anticipatory bail of Rs 15,000, Justice Bhatkar said, “The applicant shall cooperate with the investigating agency and shall report to the police station, as and when called.”
“Though the complainant is a schizophrenic, we have to ascertain the authenticity of charges she has levelled against Jondhale. We are awaiting a medical report in relation to the allegations of sexual assault and we will also examine a few more witnesses. We are hopeful of receiving the report by the end of this month,” Rajan Ghule, Assistant Commissioner of Police (Dombivali) told Newsline.
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