Updated: September 30, 2021 12:45:23 pm
The Bombay High Court on Wednesday granted pre-arrest bail to an assistant police inspector, currently attached with the Cuffe Parade Police station, who was accused of raping a female colleague with whom he was acquainted since 2014.
“In the event of arrest of the appellant in connection with said FIR, he be released on bail on furnishing personal bond of Rs 25,000 with one or more sureties in the like amount,” the bench noted.
It asked Sandip Pise to cooperate with the probe and meet the Investigating Officer (IO) as and when called, and to attend the special court proceedings once a chargesheet is filed in the case. The court also directed Pise not to leave the country without prior permission of the special court and disposed of the plea.
A division bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice N J Jamadar passed the judgment on appeal by Pise, who challenged the May 31 order of the special court which rejected his anticipatory bail. The HC quashed and set aside the special court decision.
As per prosecution, in 2013, Pise was posted at another police station in the city along with the complainant as probationary sub-inspector, and the two became friends and developed intimacy.
The complainant alleged that since January 2014, the appellant had physical relations with her despite her resistance, on the promise that he would marry her. In 2016, the woman asked Pise to marry her, but he sought time on the pretext that his mother was suffering from cancer and they would get married after her treatment was over.
As per her complaint, after other colleagues got to know about their relationship, the woman sought to be transferred to Pune, where he would visit her every week to have physical relations. In 2018, he allegedly recorded objectionable videos of her and threatened to upload them.
In April this year, the woman came to know that Pise had married someone else, and thereafter visited his house in Solapur district. His family allegedly abused her as she belonged to a Scheduled Tribe.
Her complaint of rape and cheating is lodged under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and also provisions of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 for insult and intimidation.
Senior Advocate Aabad Ponda, representing Pise, submitted that none of the major offences were prima facie made out, and that the relations between the two were consensual as they were in a relationship for more than seven years. He added that the complaint was filed by the woman to “wreak vengeance” as Pise got married in March, and claimed she had narrated a false and concocted story.
Additional Public Prosecutor Sangeeta D Shinde opposed the plea and supported the special court’s decision, stating that Pise had repeatedly exploited the woman by promising her marriage without any intent to do so. She added that he refused to marry her for the reason that she belonged to the Scheduled Tribe.
The court observed that the claim of the appellant, that the relations between the two were consensual, cannot be “brushed aside” and that custodial interrogation of the accused was not required.
The bench held, “Undoubtedly, the question as to whether the physical relations were consensual is a question of fact and is a matter for trial. However, on balance, we find that the appellant has made out a prima facie case for grant of pre arrest bail.”
The bench also held that as the accused was a serving police officer, the possibility of him “fleeing away from justice is remote”, and therefore granted him protection from arrest.
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