HC grants 15-day interim bail to trainee IAS officer

Mrugender Lal Banoth is accused of sexually exploiting a woman after assuring to marry her

Justice Lalitha Kanneganti of Telangana High Court on Thursday granted an interim bail for 15 days to trainee IAS officer Mrugender Lal Banoth who is accused of sexually exploiting a woman after assuring to marry her.

Mrugender Lal, facing charges of raping the woman, cheating her with false promise of marriage and destroying evidences, moved the HC seeking bail. Earlier, a single judge passed interim directions instructing the police not to take any coercive action against him. While granting interim bail to him, Justice Lalitha Kanneganti instructed the trainee officer to undergo potency test and co-operate with the investigators. The judge said the investigators should issue notices under Section 41 of Criminal Procedure Code to Mrugender Lal’s parents if their role was to be examined in the case.

The woman, who approached Kukatpally police leading to issuance of First Information Report (FIR) against the trainee officer, got impleaded in the criminal petition filed by him seeking bail. The trainee officer’s counsel rejected the woman’s contention that he invited her to the National Police Academy premises where he allegedly sexually exploited her with the promise of marriage.

She argued that his client never invited the woman to the academy, but she on her own came there along with other relatives. She said that ‘every breach of promise to marry would not amount to rape’ citing a Supreme Court judgement. According to her, a charge of rape was not applicable in every case where a man did not marry his girlfriend after a promise.

The woman’s counsel S. Rajagopalan said casting aspersions on his client amounted to character assassination. Referring to the trainee officer’s counsel’s allegation that the woman circulated her own private pictures to defame a woman relative of the officer, the judge wondered if any woman would resort to such things.

The judge observed how can a trainee officer spend time with a woman on the premises of training academy. How would he serve people in the capacity of an officer, the judge remarked. The assistant public prosecutor told the court that the mobile phone through which the woman was allegedly said to have circulated obscene photos was seized.

The phone was sent to forensic science laboratory to ascertain facts and the report was awaited. He said that the Kukatpally police had examined seven witnesses in connection with the case registered against the trainee officer. Further investigation could not be carried on as the HC instructed the authorities not to take any coercive steps against the officer, he said.

Lawyer Rajagopalan contended that the trainee officer’s parents and other relatives came to her house for a compromise in the matter before she lodged the complaint with the Kukatpally police. There was evidence of video clip of their visit to the house, the lawyer said.

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