A 59-year-old Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) officer, accused of unnatural offences and under POCSO Act, has been asked by a Delhi court to be off limits from Inderpuri area, his place of residence, “till the disposal of his case”. The man was arrested from his residence, in an Inderpuri village, on November 21, for allegedly touching two boys aged six and 10 “inappropriately” at his rooftop. He was later sent to judicial custody.
After spending 46 days in jail, Additional Sessions Judge Sidharth Sharma admitted his bail at a personal and surety bond of Rs 50,000 each, subject to one condition: “That he (the accused) will not live in the jurisdictional limit of PS (police station) Inderpuri till the disposal of the case and he shall not influence or threaten the victim child or his family in any manner or whatsoever, otherwise the prosecution shall be at liberty to move application for cancellation of bail.”
For the last 10 days, he has been staying either with relatives in Sangam Vihar or Rohini. He is set to retire from ICAR a year later.
The FIR was registered on November 18 by the father of the two boys, who alleged that his landlord had showed him CCTV footage purportedly showing the accused, his neighbour, playing with his children. “As per the footage, the accused is trying to put my children in his arms even though they don’t want to, and tried to abuse them. I called my children later when they told me that the accused touched them inappropriately,” the complainant alleged in the FIR.
A bail application was submitted at Patiala House Courts. Defence counsel Rishipal Singh argued in the court that the case was due to “misconception” as the accused was playing with the children and that the video did not show him taking their clothes off. Additional public prosecutor Irfan Ahmed submitted that the accused stayed on the same premises where the children reside, and there is “all likelihood of the victim being influenced or threatened” and evidence is likely to be “tampered” (if he returns).
To this, the defence counsel submitted that the “accused is willing to abide by any terms and conditions” imposed by the court. The counsel further suggested that he would leave the area will not in any manner influence the evidence.
Child rights activists Raaj Mangal Prasad, who is currently working as a consultant to the Delhi Commission for Women, said he had dealt with more than 100 POCSO cases, but had never come across one like this.
“It is a very unique and a pro-child court order, as the intention of the court is to keep the accused out of the bounds of the alleged victim,” he said.