Chandigarh, Sep 15 (SocialNews.XYZ) A Chandigarh court on Friday granted anticipatory bail to Haryana minister Sandeep Singh, who was chargesheeted last month for sexually harassing a woman junior coach.
Additional District and Sessions Judge Rajeev K. Beri allowed the
anticipatory bail plea and issued notice to the minister for the hearing on Saturday.
Anticipating the arrest by Chandigarh Police on the day of the hearing, Singh's counsel filed the anticipatory bail application on September 4.
In the petition, Sandeep Singh had expressed apprehension that in the eventuality of his appearance before the trial court on September 16, he will be sent in judicial custody as the offence in question is cognisable and non-bailable.
Opposing the anticipatory bail plea, complainant counsels, Sameer Sethi and Deepanshu Bansal, said Sandeep Singh being a minister was "misusing government machinery to pressurise the victim. If granted relief, he will influence the trial".
Minister Sandeep Singh, a former Indian hockey team captain and a first-time legislator, has had a relationship with her beyond professional interaction, says a 700-page Chandigarh Police charge sheet.
Based on statement of 45 witnesses, the charge sheet notes that the minister could not explain why he would meet the complainant beyond official work hours, including late hours.
In an interview to a YouTube channel and retweeted by Congress leader Kumari Selja, the woman coach accused Sandeep Singh of having attempted to force himself on her on three occasions in 2022.
In her first information report (FIR), she had claimed that Sandeep Singh, then the Sports Minister, had called her in July 2022 and tried to push himself on her.
The police in the charge sheet also said the victim was able to identify the bedroom, side room, bathroom, and all connecting passageways in the official residence of Sandeep Singh.
"This shows the victim had visited the said rooms," said the charge sheet.
The minister had claimed she only came to the main office cabin in his house.
As per the charge sheet, "the CFSL (Central Forensic Science Laboratory) reports regarding the mobile phones of the victim indicate that the accused and victim were in regular touch with each other and their relationship was beyond professional interaction.
"However, the accused during his examination completely denied having any personal relations with her, contrary to the evidence gathered. Some of the witnesses have also mentioned that there was a close relationship between the minister and the victim."
Acting on the complaint, an FIR under Sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 354-A (sexual harassment), 354-B (assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe), 342 (wrongful confinement) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was registered last year at the Sector 26 police station here.