Bail for Army veteran after six days in jail

Noida: A local court on Monday granted to an Army veteran who has been lodged in jail since August 14 after being charged in a molestation case filed by an additional district magistrate’s wife.
The order came after four witnesses, one of whom was present at Noida park where the incident is alleged to have happened on the morning of August 14, did not corroborate the sequence of events detailed by the complainant. The couple and the Army veteran are neighbours in a Noida housing society.

Last Saturday, after a group of ex-servicemen showed CCTV footage of the area to the district magistrate showing that the Army veteran was, in fact, assaulted by the ADM, an FIR was filed against the ADM, his wife and others for assault. The DM also ordered a probe after the ex-servicemen alleged the Army veteran had been framed. The ADM’s armed guard and an aide were arrested. They were released on bail on Monday as well.

The court, while granting bail to the 76-year-old retired colonel, said the four witnesses had given different versions of events at the park on August 14. “The eyewitness mentioned in the FIR does not support the sequence of events claimed by the complaint,” the court said.

It also said that the statements of three other residents recorded by the investigating officer did not match the complainant’s version. “The investigating officer does not have any criminal history of the accused and the latter has argued the case diary does not have the version of any independent witness who has supported the (complainant’s) version,” the court said.

Neighbours had earlier said that there was a three-year-old dispute between the retired officer and the ADM over illegal constructions the bureaucrat had allegedly made in his quarters. The court, while passing the bail order, said, “The accused (colonel) has argued that the complainant has converted her garage into a room where a family is staying on rent in an unauthorised way. Inconvenienced by this, the accused gave a complaint to the Noida Authority, which angered the woman.”

Apart from the Army veteran, his cook and two other youths who he trained were also arrested. Like the retired officer, they, too, were slapped with charges under sections 366 (kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman), 511 (punishment for attempting to commit offences), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 504 (intentional insult) of the IPC and Section 310 of the SC/ST Act.

JM Mathur, who represented the Army veteran in court, alleged that the police had dropped non-bailable charges of attempt to murder against the ADM’s guard and aide. The lawyer for the gunner and the helper confirmed that the police had removed the section before producing them in court. Asked if the police had struck down the sections before producing the duo in court, SSP Ajay Pal Sharma denied this, saying they had been removed by the magistrate.

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