KOLKATA: The Calcutta High Court on Thursday granted anticipatory bail to BJP leaders Kailash Vijayvargiya, Jisnu Basu and Pradeep Joshi in a case of alleged assault on a woman and criminal intimidation.
The petitioners had challenged an order of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Alipore, that directed registering an FIR against them.
The complainant alleged the petitioners committed rape on her at an apartment here on November 29, 2018, and that she had also been assaulted.
A division bench comprising justices Harish Tandon and K Chanda directed that in the event of arrest, Vijayvargiya, Basu and Joshi “shall be released on interim bail upon furnishing a bond of Rs 10,000 each, with two sureties of like amount each, one of whom must be local, to the satisfaction of the arresting officer.”
The interim bail will remain effective till October 25, the vacation bench ordered, adding, the petitioners will not tamper with the evidence and intimidate witnesses in any manner.
The matter will appear before the available vacation bench on October 25.
Noting that the complaints registered by the woman did not disclose the alleged offence of gangrape, the division bench said “those complaints were lodged on separate set of facts where there is no whisper of gangrape committed by the petitioners.
” The bench further said even those complaints after being investigated, were dropped from the closure report filed by the investigating officer, as the materials found during the probe did not instil confidence or meet the requirement of law.
On December 20, 2019, the woman had lodged complaints at Sarsuna police station here and at Bolpur police station in Birbhum district under IPC sections for alleged assault and criminal intimidation.
She had moved an application before the CJM, Alipore on November 12, 2020, seeking investigation into the matter, but the court dismissed her prayer.
The woman had then moved a criminal revisional application before the high court, challenging the lower court’s order.
A single bench of the high court allowed the application, setting aside the order of the CJM, Alipore and remitted it back for reconsideration.
The CJM, on October 8, 2021, directed that the complaint be treated as an FIR.
Vijayvargiya, Basu and Joshi moved anticipatory bail applications before the high court, apprehending arrest in connection with the case.
Appearing for Vijayvargiya, senior counsel Mahesh Jethmalani stressed that in the two FIRs/complaints lodged by the woman, not a single whisper could be ascertained relating to the gravity of the offence that is alleged in her application before the lower court.
Appearing for Basu, senior counsel P S Patliwala submitted before the division bench the closure reports filed by the investigating agency into the two complaints lead to the conclusion that the complainant had cooked up the serious allegations subsequently out of political vendetta.
Public prosecutor Saswata Gopal Mukherjee, appearing for the state, opposed the contention of the petitioners, arguing that there are serious allegations made against them by the alleged victim.
He submitted that in order to unearth the truth, custodial interrogation of the petitioners is required.
The division bench noted that the order of the single bench of the high court has been challenged before the Supreme Court, as informed by the public prosecutor, and the matter is likely to be listed on October 20.
The bench said since the matter largely depends upon the outcome of the Special Leave Petition before the apex court, the petitioners should not be deprived of the personal liberty till such time.