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Delhi HC refuses to cancel anticipatory bail given to MP Prince Raj in rape case

The woman, who claimed she was an LJP worker, has accused Raj of raping her while she was unconscious.
Last Updated : 19 February 2024, 11:42 IST
Last Updated : 19 February 2024, 11:42 IST

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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has refused to cancel the anticipatory bail granted to Lok Janshkati Party MP Prince Raj in an alleged rape case.

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma dismissed the petition by the complainant woman while observing that the relief was granted to Raj by the trial court in 2021 after considering the material before it, and pre-arrest bail cannot be cancelled on "mere asking" as the right to liberty is a crucial right.

"The anticipatory bail order was passed on the basis of material collected and placed on record i.e. the audio recordings and the transcript (of prosecutrix on the relationship being consensual)....along with other material regarding an FIR regarding extortion registered against prosecutrix prior in time," the court recorded in a recent order.

"There is no subsequent event shown to this court which warrants any interference with the order granting bail to the accused persons. Considering the same, this court is not inclined to cancel the anticipatory bail granted to the accused which should not be cancelled on mere asking as an individual’s right to liberty is a crucial right which cannot be interfered with lightly," the court concluded.

Raj, a nephew of late Ram Vilas Paswan and cousin of Chirag Paswan, is a Member of Parliament (MP) from Samastipur in Bihar.

Prince Raj belongs to the LJP faction led by his uncle and union minister Pashupati Kumar Paras.

The woman, who claimed she was an LJP worker, has accused Raj of raping her while she was unconscious.

The woman challenged the trial court’s September 25, 2021 order granting anticipatory bail to the politician on several grounds including that there was an “unusual delay” in lodging the FIR.

In the order, Justice Sharma observed that once granted, bail should not be cancelled in a "mechanical manner". She said the trial court had passed a "detailed and reasoned order" while granting anticipatory bail, and the accused being a Member of Parliament was "not the criteria or reason for grant of bail".

On the complainant's claim that her car was attacked by the accused, the court said no material has come on record to show that such acts were committed by him or by others at his behest.

There was nothing on record to substantiate the prosecutrix's claim that Raj was posting inappropriate messages and content against her on social media, added the court.

The court, however, said the complainant would be at liberty to approach the Witness Protection Committee in case of any threat being extended to her and the SHO concerned shall ensure prompt action is taken as per law.

Lawyer Nitesh Rana, appearing for Raj, earlier argued it was a case of honey trap and extortion and that the politician was being wrongly.

The trial court, in its order, had noted that the complainant and her male friend were extorting money and blackmailing the politician since 2020.

It had observed that the possibility of “falsely implicating” Raj could not be ruled out and his custodial interrogation was not required in this case as nothing was to be recovered from him.

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Published 19 February 2024, 11:42 IST

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