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Law

In Setback to Police, Court Won't Cancel Bail of Ex-SC Staffer Who Alleged CJI Gogoi Harassed Her

The application was moved by Delhi Police in a bribery case in which the woman was an accused and the complainant was allegedly missing.

New Delhi: A Delhi court on Friday turned down the Delhi Police’s application for cancelling the bail of the former Supreme Court employee who had alleged that the Chief Justice of India had sexually harassed her, reported Bar and Bench.

The court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Manish Khurana, at the Patiala House complex, dismissed and disposed of the plea after the woman’s lawyers V.K. Ohri told it that the ‘complainant’ in the case could not be served a notice despite several attempts, reported the website. It also reported that no one had appeared for the Delhi Police on Friday.

The complainant in this case is 31-year-old Naveen Kumar, from Jhajjar, Haryana, who had levelled charges of bribery against the woman on March 3. The woman was arrested on March 10 for alleged cheating (Section 420 of the IPC), criminal intimidation (Section 506) and criminal conspiracy (Section 120B). She was granted bail from judicial custody on March 12.

In late July, Delhi police told Magistrate Khurana’s court that Kumar had apparently been missing since April.

Kumar had filed an FIR saying that the woman and her husband had taken Rs 50,000 from him on the promise of getting him a job at the apex court. Meanwhile, the woman, in her affidavit, had claimed that the said case against her was “false and frivolous” and that she was being victimised by influential people for complaining against the CJI.

Also read: Delhi Police Reinstate Husband, Kin of Woman Who Alleged Sexual Harassment by CJI Gogoi

As reported earlier by The Wire, Delhi police’s claim that Kumar has been missing is interesting because one of the reporters from the three publications of The Wire, Scroll and Caravan, who was investigating the sexual harassment case against the CJI, had met Kumar at his workplace in the third week of April. In an effort to corroborate the story, the Caravan‘s reporter had met Kumar.

To the reporter, Kumar spoke of being under a lot of “stress” and expressed the wish to withdraw the FIR complaint. After the story on the harassment allegations broke, at least two media houses – The Print and The Indian Express – visited Kumar’s house and met his mother.

The bribery case was first transferred by Delhi Police to the crime branch. A minor case, this was nonetheless handed over to an agency handling serious and high-profile criminal cases, raising questions on the Delhi Police’s role in making the woman’s position difficult.

On April 19, the former apex court employee sent an affidavit to all the judges of the Supreme Court, alleging that CJI Ranjan Gogoi had sexually harassed her and what had followed were rounds of victimisation that she and her family were subjected to.

In the aftermath CJI Gogoi constituted an emergency special bench that included himself and protested his innocence from the bench. An inquiry committee was constituted, which through a process that was repeatedly questioned and criticised, found the CJI not guilty. Before the clean chit was pronounced, the woman withdrew herself from the probe as she was not allowed to have a lawyer or even a companion to support her during the hearings.