Supreme Court grants anticipatory bail to Goa restaurateur accused of rape

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A Vacation Bench of the Supreme Court led by Justice Ashok Bhushan on Monday granted anticipatory bail to Goa-based restaurateur Jude Lobo in a complaint filed by a Delhi woman, accusing him of rape.

The Bench sat on an urgent basis on Holi to hear Mr. Lobo’s case for protection against arrest after the Delhi High Court refused the Calangute-based Souza Lobo restaurant owner any relief.

“It is a perfect example of a cock-and-bull story. An FIR was lodged by the woman in December 2020, and the rape allegations are of 2009. She wanted to host a party at my restaurant and I refused. She improved her case…,” senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, for Mr. Lobo, said.

Mr. Rohatgi submitted before the Bench — also comprising Justice S. Abdul Nazeer — that the woman claimed she had met Mr. Lobo in 2009.

“There are general allegations later in her statement. There is a mention of a Joseph, who is an alleged friend of Lobo. Millions of Josephs in Goa. She then says she cannot get justice in Goa, and hence Delhi,” the senior lawyer argued.

Mr. Rohatgi said the allegations were levelled against the restaurateur because he had refused to host a party at his restaurant due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“We are satisfied that the petitioner has a case of anticipatory bail. If he is arrested, he shall be released on a personal bond of ₹10,000. The petitioner is allowed to implead the complainant as Respondent No 2. Let it be done today [March 29] itself. Issue notice,” the court ordered.

Mr. Rohatgi apologised to the Bench for bothering them on the day of Holi festival.

“It is part of our duty,” Justice Bhushan responded.

The court will reopen on April 5 after the Holi break.

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