Mumbai: The Bombay High Court, on Wednesday, rejected the pre-arrest bail plea of Nilima Chavan, a lawyer and a member of the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, in the case of allegedly abetting the suicide of Shiv Sena (UBT) former corporator Sudhir More. The court observed that there was 'something that needs to be probed.'
Justice NJ Jamadar perused the chats and phone recordings between Chavan and More, which were submitted by the prosecution and said there was 'something that needs to be probed.'
The judge then dismissed Chavan’s pre-arrest plea without even asking the prosecution to file its affidavit in reply.
September 1 incident
Chavan, 53, approached the high court after the sessions court rejected her plea on September 16, observing that 'prima facie' there is sufficient material against the lawyer.
More, 62, allegedly died by suicide near the Ghatkopar railway station on September 1. Based on a complaint filed by More’s son, an FIR was registered against the accused lawyer under Indian Penal Code Section 306 (abetment of suicide) at the Kurla police station.
The Kurla police have claimed that on the day of the suicide, More and Chavan made 56 phone calls, WhatsApp and video calls to each other. The police said that, as per the phone call recordings, Chavan had been harassing and blackmailing More, threatening to die by suicide if he did not talk to her. The calls, recorded in More’s cellphone, revealed that there was an ongoing argument between the two over the past few days, and More had spoken to the accused for two hours before he died by suicide.
The prosecution has contended that Chavan was interested in contesting the BMC elections and was demanding tickets from More, leading to a dispute between the two.
Chavan’s advocate, Subir Sarkar, however, contended that personal problems in a relationship do not amount to abetment, and the deceased was well within his realm to call off the relationship. He also said that Chavan has always been ready to cooperate in the investigation.
The sessions court, while rejecting her plea, had observed that custodial interrogation was required to investigate the offense in the proper direction. It had also observed, "In the said phone calls, there is a conversation in the form of a request made by the deceased to stop his harassment," the sessions judge noted. The judge also said that granting pre-arrest bail will hamper the investigations.