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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Bombay HC dismisses plea seeking Sanjay Raut’s arrest, asks woman to approach ‘appropriate’ court

The woman had alleged she was stalked, harassed by certain persons at the behest of the Sena Parliamentarian, and her estranged husband

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
August 25, 2021 10:56:25 pm
According to the petitioner, represented by advocate Abha Singh, the DCP allegedly failed to follow the directions of the National Commission for Women to register an FIR against Sanjay Raut and other persons. (File)

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday dismissed three pleas filed by a 39-year-old woman alleging she was stalked and harassed by certain persons at the behest of Shiv Sena Parliamentarian Sanjay Raut and her estranged husband, asking her to follow the process of law and approach the appropriate subordinate court to raise her grievances.

The woman, a psychologist residing at Kalina in Mumbai’s Santacruz, sought directions to the police to investigate three complaints filed by her in 2013 and 2018 against unknown persons, and to initiate action against the deputy police commissioner (DCP) of Zone VIII.

A division bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice N J Jamadar had on July 22 reserved its verdict on her plea. The High Court, in its ruling, asked the woman to follow the process of law and approach the appropriate subordinate court to raise the grievances pertaining to the A-summary report filed by police in two cases and chargesheet in the third complaint.

A-summary report is a “final report” filed by police, indicating the offence being made out but evidence being untraceable.

The court also directed the two magistrate courts to expedite the proceedings by deciding on the two A- summary reports filed by police and dispose of the same, preferably within three months. The court asked the informant woman to appear before magistrate courts on September 20 and 22.

According to the petitioner, represented by advocate Abha Singh, the DCP allegedly failed to follow the directions of the National Commission for Women to register an FIR against Raut and other persons, including her estranged husband, as they “directly or indirectly” connived with the Member of Parliament (MP) to harass her.

Singh submitted that the petitioner did not have faith in the “shoddy” probe by Mumbai police and sought transfer of the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

As per HC directions, Mumbai Police Commissioner submitted a report and stated that fair, impartial and unbiased action as per law has been taken on the petitioner’s grievance. He also said that from February 18 last year, 24/7 protection was given to the petitioner to ensure her safety and security.

Singh had submitted that in retaliation to the petition filed by her client, the woman was arrested “illegally” for allegedly using a fake PhD degree to practice at a premier hospital in Bandra (West) before she was removed from the post. On July 27, the woman was granted interim bail by the HC in the said case.

Senior advocate Prasad Dhakephalkar, representing Raut, had said that his name was not mentioned in the FIRs, and that the woman was “like a daughter” to his client, adding she had levelled the accusations against him only because she thought the Sena leader was siding with her husband in their matrimonial dispute.

Chief public prosecutor Aruna Pai had submitted that chargesheet had been filed in one of the complaints and A-summary reports had been filed in the other two matters, and, therefore, further investigation was not required. The pleas were not maintainable, Pai said.

The petitioner had alleged that in 2013, she was attacked by unknown persons, and that despite registering complaints at two police stations, no action was taken. The plea further alleged that another FIR was filed in 2018 against a stalker, who was arrested at that time but no subsequent action was taken.

The bench, in its verdict, refused prayers by the petitioner against respondent Raut seeking his arrest and said, “Evidently those allegations (against Raut) are rooted in facts… (but) It is not the case that in the FIRs, any role was attributed to Raut and allegations against him range from personal to professional to familial pursuits of the petitioner.”

The bench added, “The petitioner may agitate those grievances before the appropriate forums in a manner known to law, if so advised.

However, in exercise of writ jurisdiction, where such allegations are essentially rooted in facts, the prayers like a direction for arrest and custodial interrogation of respondent Raut, search and seizure at the residential and office premises of Raut and prohibitory and injunctive reliefs, simply do not deserve countenance.”

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