Elderly couple convicted in POCSO Act case gets bail from HC

·2-min read

Mumbai, Apr 12 (PTI) The Bombay High Court has granted bail to an octogenarian couple sentenced by a special court last month to ten years in jail for sexually assaulting their 4-year old neighbour.

A single bench presided over by Justice Revati Mohite-Dere granted bail to the couple last week after holding that there were 'several inconsistencies' in the evidence on record.

In March this year, a special court in the city found Ashwin, 87, and Vimlaben Parikh, 81, guilty of charges under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act in a case pertaining to 2013 and had sentenced them to 10 years imprisonment.

The couple approached Bombay HC earlier this month challenging the special court order. They also sought that, in the interim, their sentence be suspended and they be released on bail.

As per the HC order passed on April 8, the detailed copy of which was made available now, the victim had visited the couple's house in September 2013 while on his way back home from school, and they sexually assaulted him.

The victim's mother approached the police the same evening and a case was registered.

However, the couple's lawyer Dinesh Tiwari told HC that the charges against his clients were false and that they had been wrongly convicted.

Tiwari said the couple had been falsely accused by the victim's family in a bid to usurp their house.

He further said while the victim's mother initially stated that Ashwin and Vimlaben sexually assaulted the victim, she later testified in court saying only Ashwin had touched the victim inappropriately.

The state's counsel, SV Sonawane, opposed the couple's plea.

The High Court, however, said there existed several inconsistencies and material omissions in the evidence on record.

It also noted the couple had been out on bail while their case was pending before the special court, and that they had not misused the liberty granted to them.

'Certain inconsistencies in the evidence have come on record. There are also certain omissions that have come on record in the evidence of prosecution witness 1 (the victim's mother),' HC said.

'Prima facie, having considered the evidence on record, the applicants have made out a case for suspending their sentence and enlargement on bail,' it said.

The High Court directed the couple to deposit cash bonds of rupees 25,000 each to secure bail. PTI AYA BNM BNM