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Bombay HC restrains rape accused trustee from entering school

The Bombay High Court on Monday restrained the trustee of an international school in Andheri, who had been accused of rape, from entering the school premises until further orders, after the parents of some of the students approached it.

The trustee, a French national, was arrested last year for allegedly raping a three-year-old student.

He was granted bail in November last year and resumed his duties at the school.

However, the mother of the victim, filed a plea in HC seeking cancellation of his bail.

The parents of 42 other students from the school also filed an application in HC seeking that he be directed to stay away from the school since they feared for the safety of their children.

Vijay Hiremath, the counsel for the victim’s mother, on Monday argued that the session court’s order of November 24 last year, granting bail to the trustee, was bad in law.

He submitted that the victim had given cohesive and consistent testimony on multiple occasions and had also identified the perpetrator.

“However, surprisingly, the sessions court held that the victim’s statement was full of inconsistencies,” Hiremath said.

The trustee’s counsel Shirish Gupte, however, told HC that the sessions court order was a “well reasoned” one.

Gupte told HC that the prosecution had also told the sessions court that it had not found any incriminating evidence against the accused.

Justice Revati Mohite-Dere, who was presiding over the pleas, noticed after going through the victim’s statements that they were indeed cohesive.

Thus, when she asked the prosecution how it had made the above statement before the sessions court, the investigating officer told HC that the prosecution had never made such a statement.

“This is a serious matter. There is sufficient material against the present accused. Therefore, if the Assistant Public Prosecutor never made such a statement before the sessions court then this is even more disturbing,” Justice Mohite-Dere said.

She also directed the state’s officer present, who had appeared before the sessions court, to file an affidavit on the prosecution’s statement made before the sessions court during the bail hearing.

The incident dates back to May last year, when the victim’s parents noticed changes in her behaviour, and difficulty in sitting and walking.

When they asked her if anyone had hurt her or touched her inappropriately, she pointed to a picture of the school trustee, the child’s mother said in the plea.

An FIR was lodged against the trustee in May 2017, however he was arrested only in November 2017, after the victim’s parents filed a writ petition in the high court alleging police inaction.

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