A court on Wednesday granted interim protection from arrest to two lawyers and five other staffers of a legal firm in a rape and molestation case registered against them by a 35-year-old woman advocate. The woman had alleged that she was sexually assaulted by the main accused, who had promised to give her a better salary at his legal firm, and based on her complaint, an FIR was registered on Monday.
Fearing arrest, one of the lawyers, who is the main accused in the case, moved a pre-arrest bail plea before the sessions court.
The advocate of one of the accused informed the court that the woman had registered a similar FIR on a previous occasion, which had been quashed, as she has withdrawn the allegations, and the present complaint was also filed in the same manner.
The accused also cited previous orders passed by other courts against the victim and showed a list of more than five to six FIRs which were registered, based on the victim’s complaint against other people under section 376 (rape) of the IPC.
The additional public prosecutor, however, opposed the plea citing that the victim is a lawyer and the alleged offence is very serious. The woman, in her statement to the police, has alleged that she was promised Rs 1.50 lakh monthly salary at the south Mumbai-based firm.
The main accused had promised to provide her with the firm’s letterhead and an appointment letter and raped her at the office, the police stated, adding that the woman has also claimed that another lawyer and five members of staff molested her inside the office.
A case was registered against the two lawyers and five staff members under sections 376 (rape), 380 (theft in dwelling house), 385 (extortion), 120-B (criminal conspiracy), and 354 (Assault of criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of the IPC, it was stated.
After hearing all the submissions, additional sessions judge S P Agarwal noted that the victim has the knowledge of law, and a possibility cannot be ruled that there is some dispute between the accused and victim regarding their professional work.
The court granted interim protection to all accused till the next date of hearing on August 2, and directed the police not to arrest them.