Indore: Indore bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court on Tuesday granted bail to three female accused in much-talked honey trap case allegedly involving senior bureaucrats and politicians.
Justice Subodh Abhyankar allowed the bail applications of Shweta Swapnil Jain, Monika Yadav and Shweta Vijay Jain on a bond of Rs 50,000 each.
The honey trap case had stumbled out of the closet when a complaint was lodged on September 17, 2019 by the then Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) superintendent engineer Harbhajan Singh alleging that he was being blackmailed by Arati Dayal and others for Rs 3 crore. He had claimed that the accused had threatened to make some of his intimate videos public.
Palasia police had arrested and named Dayal, Yadav, Shweta Vijay Jain, Shweta Swapnil Jain, Barkha Soni and Omprakash, all the residents of Bhopal, in the chargesheet.
Counsels of bail applicants, Vijay Kumar Choudhary, Vivek Singh, Dharmendra Gurjar argued that there is no progress in trial and the entire case is based on the oral allegations of the complainant and the intimate electronic evidence which has not been provided to the applicants and the proceedings of the trial court have been stayed since December 2020.
It is further submitted that considering the total number of witnesses, which is 57, to be examined by the prosecution the course of the trial is going to take long time.
Archana Kher, deputy government counsel, claimed that it was incorrect to say that proceedings of trial court were stayed. She also objected to bail pleas.
After listening all parties, the HC noted that the trial court has stated that the case is being stayed as per the stay order of the HC but there appears to be no efforts on the part of the prosecution also to apprise the trial court that this court has not stayed the further proceedings of the trial.
The HC said: “… the applicants are in jail since 19.09.2019 and have spent around 22 months in incarceration, and the trial has not even begun as the charges are yet to be framed and as many as 57 witnesses have to be examined by the prosecution…. in the considered opinion of this court, the applicants are entitled to be released on bail as the final conclusion of the trial is likely to take sufficiently long time on account of COVID-19 as well.”