More victims will come forward once Rupesh arrested: Court

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 14 October 2015 22:10 IST

The court has rejected anticipatory bail application of journalist Rupesh Samant, so that his arrest could lead to more victims coming forward with complaints of sexual harassment he has caused to several women.

“There is merit and force in the submission of the IO that the arrest of the accused (Samant) will also instil confidence in the other victims against whom the accused has committed similar offences and they will come forward to set the law in motion…”

Judge Vijaya Pol, the additional district and sessions judge of Mapusa, also stated in her 18-page order that “the release of the accused on anticipatory bail will upset and demoralise not only the victims who filed the complaints but also the other such victims and will shake the collective conscience of the society.”

(Click on the Order attached at the end of news)

Samant is presently wanted by Goa’s women’s police in four cases of sexual harassment he has caused to the women employees, during his career from 2012 till date.

He was working as Goa bureau chief of PTI and an anchor of HCN cable TV channel.

DELAY JUSTIFIED

The court has dismissed the argument of Samant’s counsel that filing complaints was delayed as it was with the sole intention of tarnishing his image among the colleagues by arresting him.

The order stated:

“It is clear that the accused (Samant) was in the spree of sexually harassing many women who worked under him. In such sensitive crimes against women, it cannot be expected of female victims to lodge complaint against the offender immediately, as the very reputation and honour of the women is at stake. Thus, the delay in lodging the complaints by the women in the instant cases is inconsequential…”

Judge Pol has also taken cognisance of the confidence expressed by the police that they are “expecting that more women victims will come forward to lodge complaints against the accused after his anticipatory bail is rejected, as the evidence collected by the IO show that the accused has committed similar crimes against many more women.”

The lady judge has also taken note of the brave girls who have defied Samant’s attempts of sexual harassment, stating that the complainant victims were neither Samant’s friends nor consented parties.

“The victim/victims never had any friendship with the accused who was their superior nor there anything to suggest even remotely that the victim/victims were the consenting party/parties. Prima facie, the ingredients of the offences with which the accused is involved are squarely attracted in the instant case.”

HEINOUS CRIME

The court has asserted that the crimes Samant have committed are heinous in nature.

“Outraging the modesty of many women during number of years is by no stretch of imagination can be termed as minor offence. Hence, I do not agree with the arguments advanced by the learned Advocate for the accused that the offence in the instant case is not heinous in nature.”

The court has also noted that Samant “was in the habit of sending vulgar and lewd messages and porn material to the women staff, passing such vulgar comments against them and did not hesitate even to physically touch and physically impose himself upon them and asking sexual favours from them. “

The four FIRs filed against Samant are of the following nature:

1) Samant sent dirty and vulgar messages to one of the journalist victims from 2012 till 3 July 2013.

2) Sent lewd messages and demanded sexual favour from another journalist victim between May 2014 to July 2015.

3) Another female journalist accused that Samant, in August 2013, on the pretext of offering tea, took her to the secluded place and outraged her modesty.

4) Another female complainant alleged that somewhere in February this year, on the pretext of providing job, Samant called her at a place in Panaji and demanded sexual favour from her.

WOMEN NEED CONGENIAL ATMOSPHERE

Taking stock of all these complains of varied nature of sexual exploitation, the lady judge has made very important observations in her judgement, as follows:

 “Nowadays more and more women have started working out and want congenial atmosphere for the work, free from sexual harassment and if such crimes are committed daringly by the influential persons, the women at large get humiliated and demoralized.”

Thus Samant has been ordered to be arrested, without granting him anticipatory bail.

His lawyer Rajiv Poulekar has said they would now approach the high court, challenging the order, but no interim relief has been granted till then.

The police are thus searching for Samant, who has been absconding since 26 September, the day he had applied for anticipatory bail.  

Rupesh Samant bail order

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