Kerala High Court grants anticipatory bail to rape accused on finding woman received ₹5k after alleged incident

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The Kerala High Court on Friday granted anticipatory bail to a rape accused on finding that the woman had received ₹5,000 from the accused person after the alleged incident of rape [Umesh v State of Kerala].

Justice Kauser Edappagath took note of the WhatsApp chat which showed that the sexual intercourse was consensual in nature and that payment of ₹5,000 was made to her.

The High Court was considering a pre-arrest bail application filed by the accused person charged with offences punishable under Sections 376 D (gang rape) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and provisions of the Information Technology Act.

According to the prosecution, the accused person along with another man brought the victim to a hotel at Thiruvalla, immobilized her after giving liquor, and engaged in sexual intercourse by taking her sexually explicit video, and transmitted the same on electronic media.

The counsel for the accused person submitted that no materials were on record to connect the applicant with the alleged crime and he is entitled to get bail.

However, the prosecution opposed the bail stating that the alleged incident occurred as part of the intentional criminal acts of the accused person, and if he is released on bail at this stage, it will affect the course of the investigation.

The High Court after going through the First Information Statement (FIS) and WhatsApp screenshots found that the woman voluntarily went to the hotel knowing very well that the person and the other accused were present in the hotel.

The High Court said that the WhatsApp chat further showed that the sex they had at the hotel was consensual in nature.

It further noted that there was payment of ₹5,000 to the woman after the incident.

“Annexure -4 receipt for payment of ₹5,000 coupled with her WhatsApp chat would show that the applicant paid ₹5,000 to the victim after the alleged incident of rape,” the Court said.

Further, there was a delay of 12 days in lodging the First Information Report (FIR) and there is no need for custodial interrogation, the Court noted.

For the said reasons, the High Court said it is a fit case where pre-arrest bail can be granted to the accused person.

The High Court therefore granted pr-arrest bail to the accused person subject to several conditions including executing a bond of Rs 1 lakhs and to cooperate for investigation.

The accused person was represented by advocate Sasthamangalam S Ajithkumar.

The State was represented by Public Prosecutor Sangeetha Raj NR.

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