Rape case against Mumbai journalist: HC to hear complainant’s plea for CBI probe on April 19

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New Delhi, Apr 16 (PTI) The Delhi High Court Friday said it will hear on April 19 a woman’s plea seeking CBI investigation into a rape case lodged by her against a Mumbai-based television journalist, sources said.

The complainant’s petition was listed before Justice Mukta Gupta who said it will hear it on Monday along with the anticipatory bail plea filed by the journalist in the case.

According to the sources, Justice Gupta, who conducted in-camera proceedings in the anticipatory bail plea, has also extended till April 19 the interim protection from arrest to the accused, journalist Varun Hiremath.

The high court had on April 9 granted interim protection from arrest to him till April 16, provided he joined the police investigation.

The sources said the counsel for the journalist concluded his submissions and the court will hear arguments of the complainant’s advocate on Monday.

While Hiremath was represented through senior advocate Kapil Sibal, the complainant woman was represented through senior advocate Nitya Ramakrishnan and lawyer Jai Anant Dehadrai.

The complainant, in her petition, has sought to transfer the investigation from Delhi Police to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on the ground that there are various discrepancies in the probe conducted by the police.

She has also sought to call for a status report pertaining to the investigation carried out by the police in the FIR lodged at Chanakya Puri police station here.

Earlier in the day, the high court agreed to conduct in-camera proceedings on the request by the journalist’s counsel.

The high court had earlier issued notices and sought the responses of the police and the complainant on the journalist's plea seeking anticipatory bail in the case.

It had also asked the police to verify the documents to be given by the accused and file a status report.

The journalist approached the high court after his anticipatory bail plea was dismissed by a trial court here on March 12.

The 22-year-old complainant has alleged that she was raped by Hiremath (28) at a five-star hotel in Chanakyapuri on February 20.

The counsel for the accused claimed before the court that there was a history of sexual relationship between the complainant and the journalist.

The trial court, while rejecting the journalist's anticipatory bail plea, had said consent cannot be implied from the complainant's previous experiences with the accused and if the woman stated in her evidence before the court that she did not consent, the court shall presume that she did not.

The accused's counsel had highlighted WhatsApp and Instagram chats between the complainant and the accused before the trial court 'in order to show the love and passion between them for each other'.

The trial court had also noted in its order that some WhatsApp chats of the victim and the accused after the alleged offence indicated 'towards the feeling of sorry by the accused for his acts'.

It had said the question of consent coupled with the conduct of the complainant and the accused was a matter of trial and that it was only considering the anticipatory bail plea.

On the basis of the woman's complaint, an FIR under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 376 (punishment for rape), 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement) and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) was registered at the Chanakyapuri police station here. PTI SKV SA