High Court Says If Minor’s Statement Found Believable, Will Dismiss Accused’s Bail Pleas

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The Kerala High Court on Tuesday said if the statement given before a magistrate by a minor victim in a POCSO case against the Kochi-based Hotel 18 owner and two others is found to be believable, their anticipatory bail pleas will be dismissed.

The observation by Justice Gopinath P came during the hearing of the anticipatory bail pleas moved by the three accused – Hotel 18 owner Roy J Vayalat and his friends Anjali Vadakkepurakkal and Syju M Thankachan – who have alleged that the complaint of molestation and sexual assault against them by the minor’s mother was “a deliberate attempt at blackmail”.

They also contended that the complaint was filed after a delay of more than three months as the alleged incident occurred in October last year and the complaint was lodged only in January this year.

According to the complainant mother, who was an employee of Vadakkepurakkal, the latter had invited her and her daughter to Hotel 18 under the guise of a meeting and there Vayalat had allegedly molested the minor and also video recorded the same.

After the mother and daughter left the hotel, Vadakkepurakkal allegedly circulated the video and other photographs of the minor on social media and to others, the complaint has claimed.

According to the prosecution, the minor has given a statement under section 164 CrPC to a magistrate and in that she has made serious allegations against the three accused.

The court said it will go through the minor’s statement under section 164 CrPC to the magistrate and if the same is found to be believable, it will dismiss the anticipatory bail pleas of the three accused in the POCSO case against them.

The court also said that the accused were not entitled to receive a copy of the 164 statement at this stage and listed the matter for further hearing on Thursday, February 24.

Hotel 18, Vayalat and Thankachan first came in the news in connection with the the deaths of three people, including two models, in a car accident which allegedly resulted as the latter was chasing them in his four-wheeler.

Models Ancy Kabeer (25) and Anjana Shajan (24) had died in the fatal crash on November 1 last year. A third passenger, in the car, succumbed to his injuries a few days later.

According to the prosecution in that case, Thankachan had allegedly stalked the models from a bar to Hotel 18 and when they left that place to avoid him, he chased after them.

In that matter, the high court granted bail to Thankachan.

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