NEW DELHI: A Delhi court has granted bail to Shankar Mishra, accused of relieving himself upon an elderly woman in an Air India flight in November, 2022 with the condition that he would not contact the victim or any other witness in any manner.
Additional Sessions Judge, Patiala House Courts, Harjyot Singh Bhalla allowed plea for bail by Mishra also with the condition that he would not leave the country without permission and join the investigation and trial when called for.
In its order, the court noted the accused was no longer required for investigation while other passengers including the victim have already been examined in the case.
It also pointed out a co-passenger in the statement had not supported the victim's version, which cannot be brushed aside at this stage.
The court rejected a plea by the prosecution has avoided to join the investigation in the matter.
"The FIR in the present case was registered after about one month and five days of the incident. The victim had also not approached the police or insisted on registration of FIR during this period. However, on registration of FlR, a very short notice seems to have been given to the accused for appearance. It is but natural for anyone accuscd of a cognizable offence to be in state of panic and seek an opportunity to be able to exercise the right for seeking anicipatory bail or any other remedy that may be available. Non joining in investigation on the very first occasion, that too, on such a short notice cannot itself be treated as showing conduct that the accused intended to flee from the judicial process," it said.
The judge also said he does not fînd any claim in the present case that the accused has on previous occasion also been guilty of any other offences or does not have clcan anteccdents.
"The accused has already spent about one month in judicial custody and the offence carries maximum punishmcnt of five years. Further, there is no report, at least, that the accused tried to threaten or intimidate the witnesses or the victim at any stage. Although, there is a claim that accused has apologised to the victim in the flight and that subsequently he transferred some money in her account, which was later on returned, simultaneously, there is no unequivocal claim that he has been trying to harass the victim afier the incident," the judge said.
Mishra was arrested from Bengaluru on January 6. As he was produced here at Patiala House Courts, the judge had denied the police custodial interrogation of the accused.
Mishra was also sacked from the post of Vice President of American financial services company Wells Fargo, which called the allegations against him as “deeply disturbing”.
Delhi police has lodged an FIR against Mishra under Sections 354 (molestation), 354 (A), 509 (insulting a woman’s modesty), 510 (misconduct in public by a drunken person), 294 (using obscene words) of the IPC and section 23 of the Aircraft Act for peeing on the woman in the business class of the flight.