Kathua, Dec 22: The Punjab and Haryana Court on Wednesday granted bail to Anand Dutta, one of the six accused who were convicted in the infamous Kathua rape and murder case of 2018.
Reports said that Justice Tejinder Singh Dhindsa and Justice Vinod S Bhardwaj suspended the remaining sentence of Dutta, and ordered that he be released on bail on furnishing personal/ surety bonds.
Prayer made in the instant application is accepted and the remaining sentence of the applicant/ appellant- Anand Dutta is suspended during the pendency of the appeal. The applicant/appellant-Anand Dutta is ordered to be released on bail on his furnishing personal/ surety bonds to the satisfaction of Chief Judicial Magistrate/Duty Magistrate concerned,” the order copy of the court reads.
Pertinently, in January 2018, an 8-year-old nomad girl was gang-raped by a temple priest and others, in the Rasana village near Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir. Six of the seven accused in the case were convicted by Sessions Judge, Pathankot.
Dutta who was a sub-inspector with the police, was the Station House Officer (SHO) when the incident took place. He had been arrested and later convicted by Court for destroying the evidences.
He was sentenced to 5 years rigorous imprisonment. The present plea was filed seeking suspension of sentence during the pendency of his appeal.
Senior Counsel Bipan Ghai, appearing on behalf of the accused, contended that he was falsely implicated in the case and that the allegations levelled by the prosecution were not corroborated by any material particulars.
It was also submitted that the accused was only officiating SHO only on January 11, 2018 and the regular SHO returned from leave on January 12, 2018.
It was also contended that there was no occasion for destruction of any evidence and that the testimony of the witnesses gets washed away in cross-examination.
Senior Counsel RS Cheema, appearing for Jammu and Kashmir, opposed the plea on the ground that the crime is heinous in nature and that the applicant/appellant being a member of police force collaborated with the accused persons to perpetuate injustice. It was further submitted that the applicant is resident of vicinity of the victim and that his presence is likely to spark reaction from the family of the victim and also that of the community in general leading to possibility of severe law and order problem.
“There is no instance that the applicant/appellant has either misused the concession of parole so granted or that any untoward incident had taken place during the period of parole so as to corroborate the apprehension raised by the learned counsel appearing for the State of Jammu and Kashmir,” the Court said.
It opined that the rights vested in an accused under Article 21 need to be balanced and proceeded to suspend the sentence while ordering his release on bail, the order mentioned. (KNT)
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