Updated: July 11, 2021 2:44:01 am
The Gujarat High Court, in an order dated July 9, granted bail to a lawyer accused of allegedly honey-trapping an Ahmedabad-based 45-year-old businessman in a fake rape case and extorting Rs 5 lakh.
In March, four accused – Radhika alias Unnati Modi, Jitendra Modi, Jinal alias Jahanvi, and Bipin Upadhyay – were arrested for allegedly framing a businessman in a fake rape case in September last year.
Accused Upadhyay, an advocate at Ahmedabad trial courts, has been attributed with the role of drafting the allegedly fake rape complaints for submission to police, as per the chargesheet filed.
Upadhyay, through his advocate Rafik Lokhandwala, had submitted before the court of Justice Gita Gopi, that the accused was only performing “his professional duty as a lawyer” and had also submitted that as per provisions of the Indian Evidence Act, Upadhyay will also be protected under the client-attorney confidentiality privilege and thus, cannot be arraigned as a co-conspirator in the honey-trapping allegations.
The court, however, noted that provisions of the Indian Evidence Act pertaining to attorney-client confidentiality privilege “makes it clear that the professional communications of the advocates are protected from disclosure only to the extent of his advice to his client in the course of his professional employment and for the purpose of such employment but no such protection is given to any communication made in furtherance of illegal purpose.”
The order notes that the allegations made in the complaint “is totally an illegal activity” and that Upadhyay being a lawyer “ought to have offered himself as a witness to the police…”
Observing that adjudication on the nature of professional services rendered by Upadhyay to the co-accused in the honey-trapping case ultimately falls within the jurisdiction of a trial court at this stage, looking to the nature of allegations levelled against accused Upadhyay and the punishment prescribed, Justice Gopi exercised her discretion to grant bail.
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