FOUR MEN arrested for allegedly sexually abusing a 17-year-old boy were granted bail by a special court recently. The men, in the age group 30-60, were arrested following a complaint filed by the boy’s mother at Khar police station.
According to the chargesheet filed by the police against one of the accused, the boy had met the men through a mobile dating application. The boy, in his statement before a magistrate, said he had downloaded the app in 2017 and, through that, had met over 15 men on various occasions.
According to the statements annexed to the chargesheet, on May 17 this year, when the minor’s mother woke up to have water at around 3 am, she saw an unknown man in the house. When she asked him who he was, he said he was a friend of her son. She then asked her son about it and also went through his phone. On it, she found the app. The minor was sent for counseling and subsequently an FIR was lodged.
The minor, in his statement, has said that he had stated his age as 18 to access the website. He also said that he had revealed his age to be 16 to some of the men who eventually met him.
In their bail applications, the accused argued that the terms and conditions of the app was for men over the age of 18 and hence they had no way to know that the boy was a minor. One of the bail pleas also said that the minor, as per his own statement, had said that he had made multiple accounts on the app and spoke to the men and exchanged photographs with them by his own will.
While three of the accused were granted bail last week, one was granted bail last month. The prosecution opposed their bail, stating that technical investigation was still on and that if granted bail, accused may tamper with evidence.