Bombay high court grants bail to one in Pushpak express gangrape case; holds no prima facie proof to show he was part of gang | Mumbai News – Times of India | IIT EXPERT

MUMBAI: Two and half years after eight men were arrested in a case of alleged dacoity and gang rape of a 20-year-old newlywed woman, on a Mumbai bound Pushpak express. Bombay high court granted bail to one accused finding no prima facie proof that he was part of the gang. The prosecution said it was a case of gangrape in presence of her husband and other passengers and had invoked IPC section 376D alleging that two of the gang members had “sexually exploited’’ the woman.
The HC said there is nothing on record to show the accused seeking bail had entered the train with the gang of seven at Igatpuri and jumped off with them at Kasara station, nor was he one of the two accused of sexually exploiting the woman.
Arshad Ali Shaikh, arrested on October 9, 2021 had applied for bail last year before the HC.
Opposing his bail plea, Shailesh Ghag the prosecutor submitted that the previous day, on Oct 8, 2021, between 7 and 7.30 pm, Shaikh and seven others allegedly entered the train and robbed passengers at knife point and with use of ‘iron fighter’. When they allegedly tried to take away cell phones and other valuables from the couple, the husband resisted and was assaulted while two others called Pakya and Rahulya allegedly sexually exploited the wife, the prosecutor said. When the assailants jumped at Kasara station and tried to flee, the first informant chased them and apprehended Pakya.
Arshad Shaikh emerged from the train toilet later and his evasive answers when asked if he had a valid ticket led to him being handed over to the police at Kalyan station.
His lawyer Kalam Shaikh, however argued that he was roped in on “mere suspicion’’ and no witness attributed any specific role to him in the crime.
On March 13, Justice N J Jamadar after hearing both sides, observed that while accusations are indeed grave with prima facie case of gang rape made out, the pivotal question before him was whether Arshad Shaikh was one of the gang led by co-accused Pakya. The CCTV footage indicates otherwise said the HC also noting no recovery was shown from Arshad Shaikh.
The HC thus exercising its discretion granted bail saying his further detention is unwarranted. The bail bond was set of Rs 30000 and bail condition includes attending the Kalyan Railway police station every alternate month once for three years or till charges are framed, whichever is earlier.
The HC clarified its observations cannot be on merits of the case and the trial court shall not be influenced but it during trial.

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