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HC disposes of pre-arrest bail plea of magazine editor in Pollachi abuse related case

twitter-logoPTI | March 19, 2019 | Updated 21:43 IST

Chennai, Mar 19 (PTI) The Madras High Court Tuesday disposed of an anticipatory bail plea by a Tamil magazine editor in connection with the videos allegedly released by him on the Pollachi sexual harassment case after it was informed that all cases related to the incident would be transferred to the CBI. Recording the submission by the public prosecutor, Justice Anand Venkatesh, however, gave liberty to petitioner R R Gopal, the editor of bi-weekly 'Nakkheeran', to approach the court if there was any apprehension of arrest even after the transfer of the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). When the petition came up for hearing in the morning, the judge orally observed that he was disturbed by the manner in which the issue of sexual harassment was being "politicised and sensationalised". "I am disturbed the manner in which it is reported. Unfortunately, it has happened when election has been announced. The political parties jumping into it," he said. Referring to the Tamil Nadu government's decision to transfer the case to the CBI, Justice Venkatesh said the FIR on the release of the video should also be transferred to the central agency. He, then, asked the government counsel to get instructions by afternoon. After the hearing resumed, Public Prosecutor P A Natarajan informed the court that the state government had taken a decision to transfer the investigation of the main harassment case to the CBI and an order had already been passed. He submitted all connected cases in which independent FIRs were also going to be transferred to the CBI. Gopal moved the court apprehending arrest by the cybercrime police which registered a case against him based on a complaint by Tamil Nadu Assembly Deputy Speaker Pollachi Jayaraman, accusing him of dragging him and his family members into the sexual harassment. The case was registered under sections of the Indian Penal Code, including forgery for purpose of harming reputation, statements conducing to public mischief and promoting enmity, and the Information Technology Act over the video allegedly released by him on the sexual harassment case. The petitioner alleged the case had been foisted on him and it was a blatant misuse of power by the complainant. The main case relates to sexual harassment of a 19-year-old woman in a car by a four member gang near Pollachi in Coimbatore district on February 12. They had tried to strip her, shot a video of the act and blackmailed her. The victim, who managed to free herself, lodged a complaint with police on February 24. The case assumed political overtones after a local ruling AIADMK functionary allegedly attacked the woman's brother for lodging police complaint about the harassment. The functionary was later expelled by the ruling party. The attack, coupled with reports in a section of the media that the gang had sexually harassed several other women, led to an outrage and protests. PTI CORR VS AAR

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