Indian American couple to get bail
The Sabhnanis, accused of enslaving and torturing two Indonesians, have won a legal battle on their eligibility for bail.india Updated: Jun 28, 2007 12:13 IST
A multimillionaire Indian-American couple, accused of enslaving and torturing two Indonesian maids, have a won a legal battle as an appeals court here has ruled that they are eligible for bail before the trial begins.
The court also asked the prosecution to submit the conditions under which the couple could be released.
The decision by three-judge bench overruled the ruling of the single judge who first agreed to free 35-year-old Varsha Mahender Sabhnani and Mahender Murlidhar Sabhnani, 51, on 3.5 million bail under strict conditions but later denied it after defence and prosecution failed to reach an agreement on terms of the bail.
The strict conditions offered by the single judge included electronic monitoring, 24-hour surveillance and their confinement in their mansion except to meet attorneys, doctors and visit to temple.
The Court of Appeals asked the prosecution to submit a set of conditions which would ensure that they do not flee the country.
The trial is expected to begin later this year. The two are charged with harbouring illegal aliens and slavery.
The couple was arrested in May when one of the women was found wandering near a restaurant here and later told police that she had been tortured and made to work long hours.
The second woman was found when officials raided and searched the house in a posh neighbourhood.
Sabhnanis are American citizens and their passports were confiscated after their arrests, but prosecutors fear they have relatives overseas who could provide a safe haven if they were to flee.