A Goa court on Monday granted anticipatory bail to Chaitrali Sawant, manager of FabIndia’s Goa store, where Union Minister Smriti Irani had last week found a CCTV camera suspiciously placed near the trial room.
Sawant was missing ever since a local BJP MLA, on the instructions of Irani, filed a First Information Report blaming FabIndia for setting up the intrusive CCTV, which the allegedly partially captured several women changing their clothes.
While granting Sawant anticipatory bail on a surety of Rs. 10,000, the Judicial Magistrate First Class in Mapusa town asked her to co-operate with the investigation being conducted by the Crime Branch.
She was asked to report to the Crime Branch on April 7-8 for questioning. The Crime Branch was also directed not to arrest Sawant without prior permission from the court.
The Crime Branch had issued summons to FabIndia’s Chief Executive Officer Subrata Dutta and Managing Director William Bissell asking them to remain present for the investigation today.
Goa Police had reiterated that all persons involved in the voyeurism case, registered following the complaint by Irani, would be brought to book and “other victims” too would be called for recording their statements.
Irani visited a FabIndia store at Candolim last week and alleged that it had a CCTV camera focusing at the trial room.
Subsequently, four employees of the store – Paresh Bhagat, Raju Payanche, Prashant Naik and Karim Lakhani – were arrested and booked under IPC sections 354C (voyeurism), 509 (intrusion into privacy) and IT Act’s section 66E (capturing, publishing image of private area of any person without his/her consent).
However, they were later granted bail by a local court which said that police had made out no grounds for custodial interrogation. FabIndia also categorically denied that it had placed hidden cameras in any of its stores.
According to a statement issued by FabIndia earlier, the camera in question at Candolim store was part of the surveillance system and was installed in the shopping area.