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Calcutta High Court rejects bail application of gang-rape accused observing it as grave offence

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The Calcutta High Court while rejecting the bail application of the petitioners, accused of the gang-rape observed that gang rape is a very grave offence.

The court believed that its gravity is not only premised on the severity of punishment prescribed in law but also has an indelible impact on the psyche of the victim.

The Division Bench of Justice Joymalya Bagchi and Justice Gaurang Kanth passed this order while hearing a bail application filed by Madhav Agarwal & Ors.

The bail application has been filed under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in connection with Rajarhat Police Station Case dated 11.11.2022 under Sections 328/376D of the Indian Penal Code.

Senior Counsel for the petitioners submitted they are in custody for more than eight months. Victim had gone to the birthday party of one Yogesh Mishra, the third petitioner. At the party she did not raise any allegation of forcible rape. On the next day, she returned home and complained that she had been raped. Allegation of rape is an after thought and has not been supported by medical evidence or other witnesses on record. Most of the vulnerable witnesses have been examined. Hence, petitioners may be enlarged on bail.

Counsel for the State submitted that the victim had gone to attend the birthday party. At the birthday party she was forced to consume alcohol and after consuming it she became unconscious. When she woke up she found herself in a room with the petitioners. Second petitioner was on her body and others were also present. Subsequently they also raped her. In the morning she left the venue and reported the matter to her friend and was medically treated. DNA report shows a match between the blood sample of the second petitioner and the swab taken from the victim. Her deposition is supported by the aforesaid DNA report and other incriminating circumstances. He opposes the bail prayer and assures the Court that the trial shall be concluded at an early date.

Counsel for the victim further submitted her evidence read in the light of Section 114A of the Evidence Act proves lack of consent. A DNA analysis report corroborates the allegation of sexual intercourse. Minor contradictions in the version of witnesses cannot be a ground to refute the prosecution case. During trial the victim was threatened by a relation of a co accused. She had to approach this Court to ensure police protection. It is apprehended that in the event the petitioners are enlarged on bail she would be subjected to further intimidation and her quest for justice will remain illusory.

“Gang rape is a very grave offence. Its gravity is not only premised on the severity of punishment prescribed in law but the indelible impact it leaves on the psyche of the victim. Victim stated that she had gone to the birthday party of the third petitioner. At the birthday party she was offered alcohol and had consumed it. Thereafter she became unconscious. Upon regaining her consciousness she found that she was almost undressed and a second petitioner was on her body. Other petitioners were also present in the room and they forcibly raped her. In the morning, she left the venue and went home. After reaching home, she informed her friend and was medically treated.

Under such circumstances, we are of the opinion of the gravity of the offence and the evidence adduced in support of the allegation militates against the plea of bail at present.

With regard to other issues like threat and/or intimidation, the Court places on record the incident of threat upon the victim held out by one of the relations of a co-accused during trial. This was brought to the notice of the Court earlier and orders had to be passed to restrain the movement of the said person who had intimidated the victim. The Court was also constrained to take note of lack of co-operation on the part of police administration to strongly act against the perpetrator and the manner in which the victim was treated in the course of the investigation1. These unfortunate circumstances give an impression of deep and pervasive influence of the petitioners and co-accused over police administration. Accordingly, we are of the view that release of the petitioners on bail would encourage these activities and severely impair the smooth course of administration of justice by derailing the trial. Under such circumstances, we are not inclined to grant bail to the petitioners”, the Court observed while rejecting the bail application.

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