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HC grants bail to rape accused

The Bombay High Court has granted bail to a youth who is alleged to have raped his minor cousin sister and ‘circulated’ her nude photograph among members of a group of boys last year.

Hearing the plea of accused Bharat Vishnu Goregaonkar who hails from Goregaon in Raigad district, Justice A R Joshi said in his order last week that “reasonable doubt can be entertained as to the application of rape charge.”

On April 25, 2014, the 17-year-old victim had lodged a police complaint against the accused about his alleged act of circulating her nude photographs on WhatsApp to a certain group called ‘Om Foundation’ of boys staying in the same locality.

She alleged that the accused had forcibly taken her nude photographs after threatening her and asked her to keep quiet or else he would expose this in public.

After 2-3 days, she filed another complaint of having received alleged threats from political parties not to pursue the complaint. However, after a week, the prosecutrix filed another case alleging that she had been raped by the accused.

Subsequently, the accused was arrested. He was in custody for more than a year till he was granted bail.

The HC observed that the allegation of rape surfaced some days after the complaint of circulating nude photographs of the victim was filed. Hence, doubts had been created whether this charge can be applied in this case.

The court last week released the accused on bail subject to certain conditions. He was asked to furnish a personal bond in the sum of Rs 25,000 with one or two sureties of the like amount.

The accused was asked to attend Mangaon police station every Sunday and he was restrained from influencing any witness or tampering with evidence. In case of contravention of these conditions, his bail would stand cancelled, the court warned.

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