The court of additional sessions judge HK Sidhu has dismissed the bail plea of Baltej Pannu, a social media activist and journalist with a Canadabased Punjabi radio station, in a case where he is accused of raping a clerk in Punjabi University. The local police had arrested Pannu on November 27, 2015.
On Monday, during arguments for bail, Pannu’s lawyer Mohit Kapoor alleged that Pannu had been a victim of political vendetta and claimed that he had been falsely implicated by the state government. He added that Pannu had been critical of the state government for alleged corruption in the system and the proliferating drug trade.
Pannu’s counsel added that he would now move the Punjab and Haryana high court in next couple of days.
On the other hand, the victim’s counsel KS Nagra submitted before court that the offence committed by the accused was of ‘very serious nature’ and argued that the allegations of political vendetta by the defence counsel had no substance since there was no nexus between victim and political establishment.
“The ruling party has no role to play in the present incident,” said Nagra, adding that Pannu had committed an offence against an individual who had moved before the police with her complaint of having been duped into entering into a sexual relationship under false pretenses of marriage. Subsequently, legal action was initiated without any political pressure.
“Investigation is still on and grant of bail at this stage might hamper police investigation. The accused might also tamper with evidence if granted bail,” public prosecutor DK Garg claimed.
Garg also argued that why should a woman levy false allegations against a man at the cost of her modesty.
Baltej Pannu was picked up from his residence 98, Green Field Enclave, Officer Colony on November 27, and was soon booked under Sections 376 (rape), 504 (intentional insult to provoke breach of peace) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code.