Delhi court grants bail to pilot’s husband arrested for assaulting minor domestic help

A court here on Tuesday granted bail to the husband of a pilot arrested for allegedly assaulting a minor domestic help in southwest Delhi’s Dwarka, saying the “serious” allegations against him could not be the sole criterion for dismissing the bail application.

Additional Sessions Judge Shama Gupta also observed that the “general rule is bail and not jail”. The judge said custodial interrogation of the accused was not necessary and that there was no chance of the accused fleeing from justice.

The court was hearing the bail plea of accused Kaushik Talapatra moved by law firm Karanjawala & Co.

It noted the submissions of the accused, according to which his wife Pournima Nilkant Somkuwar, a pilot, was granted bail on August 17 this year.

“In the present matter, no doubt against the accused the allegations are serious in nature but, the same is not the sole criterion for dismissing the bail application, as the general rule is bail and not jail. The object of bail is to secure the attendance of the accused at trial and for the conclusion of the investigation,” ASJ Gupta said.

She said that police custody of Talpatra was not sought after his arrest on July 19 and this meant custodial interrogation of the accused was not required for investigation.

The court noted the girl victim’s statement, according to which the allegations against the couple were that they had assaulted her. But, the injuries near her eye and the burn were caused by Talpatra’s wife, it said.

“Though, at this stage, it cannot be segregated as to what specific act was committed by the accused persons or whether all the injuries as suffered by the minor was on account of common intention shared by both of them or they are responsible for their individual act as alleged,” the court said.

The judge said at the stage of considering the bail plea, the court had to consider whether pre-trial incarceration of Talpatra would help further investigation or there were chances that after securing bail, he would flee from the process of law and would tamper with evidence.

“But in the present matter, as per the case file, the investigation which is pending is only qua final medical opinion and to record the statement of the father of the child victim, custodial interrogation of the present accused does not seem to be necessary,” the court said.

It said before his arrest the accused was working as an aircraft maintenance engineer and so there was no chance of him fleeing from justice.

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“Further, as per the submissions of the Investigating Officer (IO), the child is still with the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and her statement has already been recorded thus, no fruitful purpose would be served by keeping the accused behind bars,” the court said.

“Accordingly, the applicant or accused is admitted to bail on furnishing his personal bond in the sum of Rs 1 lakh with one surety of the like amount,” the court added.

The other conditions of bail included the accused not contacting the victim, except for clearing her dues, intimating about any change in address, attending trial on each date, providing his mobile phone numbers to the IO and not leaving the country.

The couple allegedly assaulted a 10-year-old girl working as a domestic help at their home. After the incident came to light on July 19, the couple was manhandled by a mob.

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