Order on Samant's bail plea on 14 Oct, arguments heard

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 09 October 2015 18:06 IST

Order on the much-awaited anticipatory bail order of senior journalist Rupesh Samant would be delivered on 14 October.

The Mapusa district and sessions judge Vijaya Poll heard the arguments of the anticipatory bail today afternoon in the case of four complaints of sexual harassment filed by five women employees against Samant.

Public prosecutor Sunita Nagvekar pressed for Samant’s custody, stating that his custodial interrogation is required to proceed with the investigation.

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.

Adv Nagvekar thus feared that Samant, if bailed out, would pressurise the victims, who have fearlessly come forward to expose his sexual misbehaviour.

The first complaint was filed against him on 25 September 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.

By not responding to the series of summons served on him and not appearing before police for interrogation proves beyond doubt that he is accepting his guilt, argued Nagvekar.

While pressing for his custody, the government counsel also said that police need to attach his mobile, used to send the lewd messages.   

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.

Adv Rajiv Poulekar, while arguing for Samant, had asked why victims had not come forward with any complaint since 2012.

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

Samant was the Goa bureau chief of Press Trust of India as well as the in-charge of HCN cable TV channel.

However, Adv Poulekar claimed he was a mere anchor at HCN and not enjoying any position since he was primarily working for PTI.

The case has no substance, he said, alleging that the complaints are filed merely to malign his public image in the society.

He also dismissed the mobile theory, stating that the complaints go back to 2012 while no mobile company keeps records of messages for over six months.

In case of WhatsApp, he said the police can very well get the records from the company and attaching mobile phone was not the requirement.

While admitting that section 67A of IT Act is a non-bailable offence, he said it is up to the court to interpret section 354 as bailable or not.

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

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