Accused will not be kept in custody merely because the complainant was allegedly getting threatening calls from him: High Court of Delhi

Having made threatening phone calls to the complainant or a co-accused person absconding are not valid grounds to deny bail to an accused person whose offence is bailable. This was held by a single member bench of the High Court of Delhi consisting of Justice Subramonium Prasad in the case of Nikhil Bhattal v The State [Bail Application. 1520/2021] on 22nd July 2021.

The complaint was filed by Rishab Jain who owns a marble and tiles business in New Delhi. The petitioner, Nikhil Bhattal placed an order with the complainant for tiles to renovate his house and insisted that the complainant visit the house to determine the specifics. Upon visiting the petitioner’s house, the petitioner’s girlfriend Ishu offered the complainant soft drink which made him dizzy and lead to him passing out soon after. As the complainant was slowly regaining consciousness, he was shocked to see Ishu rubbing his private parts. The complainant left the room he woke up in and narrated the incident to the petitioner who made a show of rage and anger. It is alleged that the petitioner started demanding a mobile phone, a television set and Rs. 2 lakhs from the complainant and threatened that if these demands were not met, he would file a rape charge against the complainant. The petitioner and his girlfriend allegedly called the petitioner over 25 times to threaten him and the complainant also produced various voice recordings of their demands.

An FIR was filed by the complainant on 10th April 2021 at South Rohini Police Station under Sections 328, 389 and 34 of the Indian Penal code for poisoning and for putting person in fear of accusation with the intention of extortion. The petitioner was arrested on 11th April 2021 but his girlfriend who is a co-accused is still absconding. The petitioner filed this petition before the High Court of Delhi under Section 439 of Cr.P.C. for grant of bail. The medical report indicated that the complainant had been intoxicated, however without delving into the merits of the case, it was established that the offences which the petitioner was accused of were bailable in nature. The petitioner also contended that he had been in custofy since 11th April 2021 despite not being convicted. However the counsel appearing for the complainant contended that the complainant was receiving threatening phone calls and that releasing the petitioner would compromise on the complainant’s safety.

Justice Subramonium Prasad came to the conclusion that “There is nothing more required to be recovered from the petitioner. Just because the complainant is alleging that he is getting threatening calls, it will not be appropriate to keep the accused in custody and the Court can lay down conditions to ensure that the complainant is not harassed. There is nothing to show that till the co-accused is not arrested the petitioner has to be kept in custody”.

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