On Friday, the Bombay High Court has granted anticipatory bail to Major Aunshuman Jha charged with rape by a 28-year-old IT Engineer woman who he met on a matrimonial website. The applicant was booked under Sections 376, 377, 420 of the Indian Penal Code after a woman, aged 28, alleged him of forcing physical relationship on the promise of getting married.
Justice Bharati Dangre noted the fact that the complaint was filed more than two years after the alleged incident happened which itself creates a scope of doubt. Swastik Singh, the counsel appearing for the applicant sought ad-interim relief for him to return to the Army so he can resume his duties. He also assured the Court that the applicant will cooperate with the on-going police investigation. According to the complainant, the army major and the woman began communicating on a matrimonial site. In April 2018, the major visited Mumbai specifically for the purpose of meeting her where he stayed in a hotel. The allegation is that the woman was taken into confidence by the applicant and it is during her visit to that hotel when the applicant forcibly tried to make physical relationship with the complainant and that he also committed 'unnatural' sexual offenses at the time.
It was argued on behalf of the applicant that the unwillingness and reluctance on the part of the applicant and his family with the proposed wedding, prompted the complainant to file a complaint about rape and cheating on July 20, 2020. Furthermore, it was also found that the messages exchanged between the complainant and the accused major revealed their initial mutual intentions of getting married. APP Prajakta Shinde argued that the police have found that the man had used multiple identities to communicate and carry on relationships with various women. The police also recovered fourteen mobile SIM numbers from the man, the Court was told. However, the police have told the Court that his custodial interrogation was not necessary for the investigation. On the basis of his cooperation with the investigation so far and since the messages exchanged between the complainant and the accused major revealed their initial mutual intentions of getting married at the time of the alleged rape, Justice Dangre held that “Since in my considered view, at this stage, the custodial interrogation of the applicant is not necessary and with an assurance that he will co-operate with the investigation which is in progress, the following ad-interim relief would serve the purpose". Subsequently, the anticipatory bail was granted on a personal bond of Rs.25,000.