The Bombay High Court has granted pre-arrest bail to Sandip Pise, assistant police inspector (API) with the Cuffe Parade police station who was accused of raping a colleague when posted at Dongri police station in 2014 observing that it cannot brush aside the possibility that the “relations between the two were consensual”.
A division bench of justices SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar directed that in case of arrest, Pise be released on bail on furnishing personal bond of Rs 25,000 observing, “The appellant (Pise) being a police officer, like prosecutrix (victim), the possibility of fleeing way from justice appears remote. In the peculiar facts of the case, the direction for release of the appellant in the event of arrest is not likely to hamper the investigation even in respect of recovery of the mobile phone handset and investigation in that regard.”
Pise had approached the HC seeking anticipatory bail after the sessions court rejected his application.
According to the prosecution, Pise and the victim were batchmates since 2013. They were later posted at the Dongri police station in 2014 and eventually developed intimacy.
The victim claimed that in 2014, Pise forcibly had sexual intercourse with her on the promise of marriage. Thereafter, they had intimate relations on multiple occasions. When their seniors and colleagues learnt about their relationship, the victim sought transfer to Pune, which was allowed. Pise used to visit her at Pune regularly.
According to the victim, she learnt in April, 2021 that Pise was engaged to marry someone else. When she confronted him, he convinced her that he would marry her and they went to stay at a resort.
Aabad Ponda, Pise’s advocate, argued that Pise had the intention to marry the alleged victim. However, they had a break up in 2018 and decided to part ways amicably. Even after the break up, the victim would contact Pise occasionally and in March 2020 she sent a note threatening to commit suicide, argued Ponda.
Thereafter, Pise got married to another woman in March 2021. However, out of vengeance, the victim filed a false complaint of rape, added Ponda.
Additional public prosecutor Sangeeta Shinde opposed the anticipatory bail plea stating that the API repeatedly exploited the victim on the false promise of marriage. Besides, he refused to marry her later since she belonged to a scheduled tribe.
The court, however, said that Pise’s contention that the relation was consensual need to be taken into consideration. “In the backdrop of the aforesaid facts, coupled with the situation in life of the parties, we are of the view that the claim of the appellant that the relations was consensual cannot be brushed aside lightly. Undoubtedly, the question as to whether the physical relations were consensual is a question of fact and is a matter for trial.”
Granting anticipatory bail to Pise, the HC has asked him to cooperate with the investigation and not contact the victim or threaten her.
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