Rupesh to be arrested, court dismisses his anticipatory bail plea

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 14 October 2015 17:15 IST

The Mapusa court today rejected the anticipatory bail application of senior journalist Rupesh Samant, who is facing series of charges of sexually exploiting the women employees working under him.

Mapusa District and Sessions judge Vijaya Poll pronounced one-word order in the court today at 5.10 pm – ‘dismissed’ - with no more details in hand right now.  

Samant, who was Goa bureau chief of PTI and anchor of HCN cable TV channel, had filed anticipatory bail on 26 September, soon after the first complaint filed against him the previous day.

It means the police would be now free to arrest Samant and take him in custody.

He is absconding for the last 19 days, from the day of filing anticipatory bail application on 26 September.

DETAILS

Four FIRs of sexual harassment are filed against Samant by five women journalists and employees on different dates since 25 September.  

However, the hearing on the bail application was adjourned twice, once because Samant’s lawyer did not reach in time on 28 October and then again on 6 October since the judge was on sick leave.

Meantime, Samant was absconding while the women’s police station served eight summons to him to appear before them for investigation.

The hearing was finally held on 9 October by Mapusa district and sessions judge Vijaya Poll, fixing the order for today.

BACKGROUND

Samant is facing charges of insulting modesty of women through physical act, sending lewd messages on mobile, making sexually coloured remarks and making physical advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures.

The first FIR was filed against him on 25 September based on complaints filed by two women journalists, following which three more complaints were filed against Samant, of varying nature of sexual harassment of his juniors from 2012 till this year.

Public Prosecutor Sunita Nagvekar has pressed for his custody, expressing fear that Samant will pressurise the victims using his journalistic clout.  

She also pointed out that Samant is a habitual offender and has still not appeared before the police in a trespass case filed against him in Margao in 2013.

The victims were not coming forward to complain all these years, fearing about Samant’s social status as well as the senior position he was enjoying in the HCN channel, she explained.

However, following the spurt of FIRs of sexual harassment filed against him, Herald Group owning HCN channel had disowned him while he is also not reporting for PTI.

Samant’s lawyer Rajiv Poulekar had denied the allegation that he is absconding, claiming that he was not appearing before the police, fearing arrest, pending order on the bail application.

He had assured that Samant would fully cooperate with the police once bailed out. 

Samant is facing charges under section 354, 354 A and 509 of IPC as well as section 67 A of IT Act.

Besides the police case, the whole journalistic community is also up in arms against the pervert and exploitative acts of Samant, led by Goa Union of Journalists.

Besides approaching chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar and the police heads demanding a speedy and fair inquiry, the GUJ also had a demonstration on 6 October against Samant.  

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