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Rape allegation by Venezuelan national: Bhavnagar firm director, father move HC for quashing of FIR

The court deemed it fit to issue notice to the state and the woman on Tuesday, returnable for July 20 and has directed that "there shall be no coercive action" against the accused.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
Updated: June 16, 2021 4:43:30 am
A batch of petitions have challenged the constitutional validity of various sections of the Gujarat Prohibition Act, 1949 .(File Photo)

A Bhavnagar-based company director and his father, who is the chairman of the company, who were accused of rape and criminal intimidation by a Venezuelan national, have moved the Gujarat High Court seeking quashing of the FIR against them as well as quashing of a Bhavnagar sessions court order that had permitted for the addition of the offences of rape and criminal intimidation in the FIR.

A 29-year old Venezuelan woman, who was working with the company, had accused the firm’s director of raping her in August 2020. Subsequently intimate pictures of hers were leaked, allegedly by the director and his father, following which an FIR was registered at the local Vartej police station in Bhavnagar under IPC section 354 (c) (punishment for disseminating images taken without consent or knowledge of the person being photographed) and provisions of the Information Technology Act (section 67 and 67 (A) – transmitting, leaking obscene images). The father and son were named as “suspected accused” in the FIR.

With regard to the plea seeking quashing of the FIR, the two accused, represented by senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani in the court of Justice Nikhil Kariel of Gujarat HC, submitted the complaint “deserves to be quashed since it is maliciously instituted” at the behest of the other son of the chairman.

It was also submitted that IPC section 354-C would not be applicable since the said section states about “any man who watches or capture the image of a woman engaging in private act in circumstances where she would usually have expectation of not being observed” and the act in question was engaged in the office of the ousted brother who at the relevant point of time was director of the company and the images in question had been captured by CCTV Camera placed “inside his office,” and thus “it cannot be construed as a place where the complainant could have the expectation of not being observed…”

The court deemed it fit to issue notice to the state and the woman on Tuesday, returnable for July 20 and has directed that “there shall be no coercive action” against the accused.

In the second application seeking quashing of a Bhavnagar sessions court’s order, the Gujarat HC observed that it is “of the prima facie opinion” that the allegations of rape and criminal intimidation first levelled in an application registered with the CID Crime, was separate and prior to the FIR pertaining to circulation of intimate images and that the investigating officer “had committed an error by not brining this very important aspect to the notice of the Courts below (Bhavnagar).”

In this regard, the court of Justice Nikhil Kariel, stayed the Bhavnagar court’s order.

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