Ten days before the complainant in the Unnao rape case was set ablaze by five men including two of her alleged rapists, the Allahabad High Court had granted bail to the prime accused Shivam Trivedi.
"Applicant will not try to influence the witnesses or tamper with the evidence of the case or otherwise misuse the liberty of bail", Justice Rajeev Singh had ordered on November 25 while allowing Trivedi's bail application.
The Unnao-woman sustained nearly 90% burn injuries in the fire assault carried out allegedly by the accused released on bail, and succumbed to them at a hospital at New Delhi two days later on Saturday.
The 23-year old woman had filed FIR alleging that Trivedi had brought her to Rae Bareli under the pretext of providing employment and raped her in 2017 by giving a false assurance of marriage. The woman had also accused Shivam Trivedi and his cousin Shubham Trivedi of raping her in December 2018. Therefore, the FIR was registered for the offence of gang rape under Section 376D of the Indian Penal Code.
In the bail application, Shivam Trivedi's counsel submitted before the Court that on January 1, 2019, he and the complainant had entered into a marriage. It was contended that the FIR was lodged later in March when the relation was not accepted by Trivedi's parents, submitted the counsel.
The prosecution opposed the grant of bail but conceded that the first incident of rape took place two years before the date of lodging the F.I.R.
Justice Rajeev Singh allowed the bail application saying :
"Considering the rival submissions of learned counsel for parties, material available on record as well as totality of fact and circumstances, and without expressing any opinion on the merits of the case, I am of the view that the applicant is entitled to be released on bail".
(Incidentally, the SC recently held that merely recording 'having perused the record' and 'on the facts and circumstances of the case' does not sub-serve the purpose of a reasoned judicial order in a bail application).
While granting the bail order, the HC also added,
"Applicant will fully cooperate in expeditious disposal of the case and shall not seek any adjournment on the dates fixed for evidence when witnesses are present in the Court.
Applicant shall remain present, in person, before the trial court on the dates fixed for (a) opening of the case, (b) framing of charge; and (c) recording of statement under Section 313 Cr.P.C."
The Court further added that any violation of the conditions mentioned will be treated as misuse of bail, which can lead to its cancellation.
Trivedi, who was out on bail, allegedly carried out the attack on the women, along with the other rape-accused Shubham Trivedi and three others namely Harinkar Trivedi, Ram Kishore Trivedi and Umesh Bajpai.
Though the UP government later flew her in an air ambulance to Delhi for treatment at city hospital, she did not survive the burns and breathed her last on Saturday morning.
The police has registered another FIR against the accused for murder. However, the families of the accused have denied all allegations and demanded a CBI investigation in the case. The National Commission for Women (NCW) also sought an action-taken report from UP Police.
Unnao was in the spotlight earlier after another young woman had accused former BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar of raping her in 2017, when she was 17 years old. The trial of that case has been shifted to Delhi on orders from Supreme Court.
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