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Accused and Co-Accused released on bail when investigation completed and no scope for tampering evidence or fleeing from Justice: Himachal Pradesh High Court

On hearing a case under section 363, 366A, 376, 120B of IPC and section 4 of the POCSO act, it was decided when the investigation is complete and there is no scope for fleeing from justice the bail may be granted. This judgment was passed in the case of Geeta Gupta vs. State of Himachal Pradesh with Susheela vs. State of Himachal Pradesh and Rahul Dhawan @Dolly vs. State of Himachal Pradesh [Cr.MPs(M) No. 604 -606/2021] by a Single Bench consisting of Hon’ble Shri Justice Chander Bhusan Barowalia.

The petitioners Geeta and Susheela filed for grant of bail under section 438 of the Code of criminal procedure (Cr.P.C) while Rahul Dhawan filed for a grant of bail under section 439 of the same with regards to their arrest under section 363, 366A, 376, 120B of IPC and section 4 of the POCSO Act. The prosecution claims the daughter of the complainant did not return home from school (10th Class) and the wife of the complainant received a call from the prosecutrix who informed she is getting married to Rahul Dhawan, one of the petitioners. The complainant filed a case stating that the petitioner had taken his daughter and registered a case with the police. On investigation, it came to light that the petitioner picked her up and bought materials for their marriage. They married in the absence of a priest at a temple. The co-accused had taken photos of the marriage. The police procured the car that the petitioner and prosecutrix had used and the details of the hotel in which they resided along with the date of birth details. The petitioner produced the prosecutrix before the police. She was medically examined and her statement under sections 161 and 164 of Cr.P.C. was recorded.

While the counsel for the petitioners argued that they are innocent and would not tamper with the evidence or witness as they are permanent residents of the place. They also stated that they will abide by all conditions in order. The Counsel for the State argued that they have committed a heinous crime with active participation. Considering the seriousness of the offence and the facts and circumstances they shouldn’t be enlarged on bail. The counsel for petitioners rebutted the claim by stating that the investigation is complete as far as the police is concerned, thus not requiring custodial interrogation.

The Hon’ble High Court held that since there will be nothing fruitful out of the Custodial investigation and there is nothing left to recover from the petitioners the grant of bail would be exercised in their favour. Furthermore, the petitioners are co-operating in the investigation and their permanent residence is local there is no question of fleeing from justice or tampering with the evidence and witnesses. Based on the above grounds the petitioners were granted bail. Geeta and Susheela were granted bail on furnishing a bond of Rs. 25000/- and Rahul Dhawan on furnishing a bond of Rs. 50000/-.

The Hon’ble High Court ordered, “That the petitioners will not directly or indirectly make any inducement, threat or promise to any person acquainted with the facts of the case so as to dissuade him/her from disclosing such facts to the Investigating Officer or Court.”

Click here for the judgment.

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