SC reserves verdict on challenge to bail to ex-Andaman chief secy in rape case

The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its verdict on a petition challenging the bail granted to former chief secretary of Andaman and Nicobar Islands Jitendra Narain in a rape case filed by a 21-year-old woman.

“Order reserved,” said a division bench of Justices Vikram Nath and Ahsanuddin Amanullah after hearing the lawyers for the parties on appeals by the State and the victim against the bail granted by the Port Blair circuit bench of the Calcutta High Court earlier this year.

A Special Investigation Team (SIT) had probed the allegation that the woman was lured to the chief secretary’s residence on the promise of a government job and raped by multiple people, including Narain.

Narain was arrested on November 10 last year after an FIR was registered on October 1 when he was posted as the chairman and managing director of the Delhi Financial Corporation. The government suspended him on October 17.

The SIT filed a 935-page charge sheet in the case on February 3.

The prosecution’s lawyer argued before the top court there was no reason for granting bail to the former chief secretary when a prima facie case was made out against him from the material on record.

He also alleged destruction of evidence, including CCTV footage, in the case and asserted the prosecutrix’s statement is enough to prove a case of rape.

Counsel for the accused claimed he was implicated in a “strategically created” case which was “hyped out of proportion”.

The defence claimed there were discrepancies in the statements of the victim in respect of the dates when the alleged incidents took place. She has alleged she was raped by the accused on two days. The alleged offence of rape could not be demonstrated from the record, the counsel for the accused said.

The prosecution lawyer said a rape victim cannot be expected to remember the exact dates, and assailed the high court order granting bail to the accused.

Narain’s lawyer argued he has fulfilled the bail conditions and the court cannot hold a mini trial at this stage.

Narain was granted bail by the Port Blair circuit bench of the Calcutta High Court on February 20.

According to the police, the charge sheet against Narain, businessman Sandeep Singh alias Rinku and suspended labour commissioner Rishishwarlal Rishi is based on the statements of nearly 90 witnesses, forensic reports and electronic evidence.

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The accused have been charged under IPC sections 376 (punishment for rape), 376C (intercourse by superintendent of jail, remand home, etc), 376D (intercourse by any member of the management or staff of a hospital), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 328 (causing hurt by means of poison, etc. with intent to commit an offence) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence).

The charge sheet also mentions IPC sections 506 (criminal intimidation), 120B (criminal conspiracy), 500 (defamation) and 228A (disclosure of identity of the victim of certain offences).

The charge sheet also accused Narain of misusing his position to destroy evidence at his official residence.

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