The trustee of an international school booked in Andheri for raping a four-year-old kindergarten student surrendered before the Dindoshi sessions court on Monday. The court also framed charges against him and another staffer of the school for rape and under relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSCO).
Both the accused pleaded not guilty and the court will commence the trial on the next date. The 57-year-old was directed by the Supreme Court on Friday to surrender before the law enforcement authorities within three days, while upholding the cancellation of his bail by the Bombay High Court on April 2. The trustee will continue to remain in jail till the trial ends. The Supreme Court has also directed that the trial should be concluded within four months.
The trustee, a French national, was granted bail by the Dindoshi sessions court on November 24, 2017 after he spent 18 days in custody. The sessions court, which initially granted him bail, had observed that since the accused had joined investigation since the lodging of the FIR and that detaining him would not serve any purpose of the prosecution, he could be released on bail with certain conditions.
The conditions imposed by the sessions court included that the trustee should not leave India without permission of the court, that he should surrender his passport with the investigating official and not tamper with evidence and witnesses. The victim’s mother approached the Bombay High Court this year, seeking cancellation of his bail. An intervention application field by eight parents from the school stated that after he was granted bail, an email was circulated on December 8, 2017, stating that he had resumed work.
The parents, in their application, said that the trustee should not be allowed to return to the school and that in the present situation, they were concerned about the safety of their children. The Bombay High Court while hearing the application had restrained the accused from going to the school and had cancelled the bail application on April 2. The accused then approached the Supreme Court, which upheld the High Court order.