What would come as a huge relief to MLA Ganesh Naik, the Bombay High Court, on Wednesday, granted him anticipatory bail in a case filed against him alleging rape, cheating and criminal intimidation.
The 71-year-old is a veteran politician from the satellite township of Navi Mumbai and the Raigad district, who has been a member of Shiv Sena, National Congress Party, and is now with the Bharatiya Janata Party. He is currently a serving MLA from Airoli; he has also been a cabinet minister—handling various portfolios including Environment, Excise and Labour—under the Shiv Sena-BJP government and then the Democratic Front government.
Naik had filed for a pre-arrest bail after a 47-year-old woman had accused him of threatening her and her son. The woman had been in a live-in relationship with Naik from 1993 to 2017, but four years ago he disowned her and their son.
The issue is mostly about the child’s paternity.
“…prima facie essential ingredients of the offence of rape are not made out,” Justice Anuja Prabhudessai said while considering that the relationship between the accused and victim was consensual.
“It is stated that no case is made out for custodial interrogation. The application for bail cannot be rejected solely on the ground that the applicant is an MLA,” the judge ruled, and directed Naik to surrender his licensed revolver within.
In case he is arrested, Naik could be released with a Rs 25,000 bail bond.