A Chandigarh court on Friday granted anticipatory bail to Haryana minister Sandeep Singh in an alleged molestation case registered against him last year on the complaint of a woman junior athletics coach.
The court also directed the minister to furnish bail bonds amounting to Rs 1 lakh with one surety before the court of additional chief judicial magistrate, Chandigarh, in the next 10 days.
A former captain of the Indian hockey team, Singh, 37, was booked by the Chandigarh police on December 31, 2022, on the complaint of a junior woman coach. He resigned as sports minister on "moral grounds"’ after he was booked by the Chandigarh police. He, however, continues to hold the portfolio of printing and stationery departments.
Anticipating arrest of Singh by the Chandigarh police on the day of hearing – September 16 – Singh’s counsel had filed the anticipatory bail application on September 4.
Singh said in his bail application that he was a law-abiding citizen who had cooperated with the investigation and now since the police had filed the charge-sheet in the case, his custody was not required and that he would appear regularly to face the trial.
Singh’s counsels Rabindra Pandit and Siddharth Pandit held that the charges levelled against Singh had been made only for the reason that the unjust demands of the complainant had not been accepted by the accused minister. Stating that there was an inordinate delay of about six months in filing the FIR by her, they added that she was given posting at her hometown Jhajjar which she did not want. They held that the complainant had become a puppet in the hands of rival political parties who instigated her to go ahead with the false charges in the case.
The Chandigarh police and the complainant opposed the anticipatory bail application of the accused minister. The complainant’s counsels, Sameer Sethi and Deepanshu Bansal held that Singh being a member of legislative assembly had been influencing the investigation and threatening the complainant and that he was misusing government machinery to pressurise the victim and that if grant relief, he would influence the trial.
For the record, the Chandigarh police had registered a case against Singh on the complaint of the junior woman coach on December 31, 2 022 under sections 354, 354-A, 354-B, 342 and 506 IPC.The complainant alleged that the minister had molested her at his official residence on July 1, 2022; he pushed her and tore her T-shirt when she resisted; however, she managed to escape as the doors were not locked.