Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has granted bail to a woman who was arrested last year for allegedly coercing a 15-year-old into having sexual intercourse with her son-in-law and workers at a mall owned by her.
Justice MS Karnik granted bail to the woman, observing that she had been 'in custody for more than one year and one month with no possibility of the trial concluding anytime soon.'
An FIR was registered against the woman by the Nerul police on July 22, 2022, under various provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. She was arrested on August 5, 2022.
Victim brought by woman from West Bengal
According to the prosecution, the victim girl was brought from West Bengal to Mumbai by the woman in 2015. She had lost her parents when she was three months old and was being raised by her grandfather, who was known to the woman.
It is alleged that the woman, who owned a shop, made the victim work there and coerced her into having sexual relations with the employees. Additionally, she was forced to work in the woman's house, where the woman's son-in-law raped her.
Same Raees Khan, the advocate for the woman, argued that she was being falsely implicated in the case allegedly at the behest of one of the employees who was fired for stealing from the shop. Khan also pointed out a delay in filing the FIR.
Khan further argued that the victim had refused to undergo a medical examination. The victim had claimed she was pregnant and underwent an abortion, but the doctor, whom the victim stated had conducted the abortion, has stated that there is no record indicating that the victim had ever visited her clinic.
State advocate NB Patil and the victim's advocate Vilasini Balasubramanian opposed the plea, contending that serious accusations had been made against the woman.
The court noted that the investigation is complete, and the charge sheet has been filed. Additionally, there are no criminal antecedents reported against her. 'In the facts of the present case, instead of prolonging the custody of the applicant, I am inclined to release the applicant on bail,' said Justice Karnik while granting bail on the condition of furnishing a personal bond of Rs. 25,000.