With the detailed judgment of dismissal of Canada-based radio journalist Baljit Pannu bail plea in a rape case being made available on Thursday, it has come to fore that the police went to the extent of recording the statement of the complainant’s ex-colleague before a judicial magistrate to corroborate the allegations.
Pannu, 48, was arrested on November 27 for allegedly raping a 32-year-old woman, working as a clerk in Punjabi University, on the pretext of marriage.
While denying bail to Pannu, additional sessions judge HK Sidhu particularly emphasised in her order that there was on record a statement, recorded under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, of another woman, which reflected that Pannu had been alluring other women as well.
Pannu’s Canadian citizenship, too, played a role in dismissal of his bail plea. The judge stated, “Since the bail applicant is a Canadian citizen, thus there is every apprehension that if granted the concession of bail, he may flee the process of justice and may not join the investigation.”
The order further added that having gone through the record it transpired that there were serious allegations against Pannu having physically exploited the complainant, while alluring her for marriage and taking her abroad and settling down in Canada.
Keeping these facts in view, the court denied bail to Pannu on January 4.
When contacted, investigating officer Bharpur Singh said the police were not going overboard by recording the statement of the other woman, as it was “important to support the allegations levelled by the victim”.
“Police challan would soon be tabled before the court,” he added.
Meanwhile, Pannu’s counsel Mohit Kapoor said they would move the Punjab and Haryana high court against the judgment as “they were sure that he was falsely implicated by the state government”, for Pannu had been critical of the state government for alleged corruption in the system and the proliferating drug trade.
Pannu was picked up from his residence in 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.
In her complaint, the woman had alleged that Pannu repeatedly raped her over a period of a year and a half before refusing to marry her. Recently, she got married and narrated the events to her husband who, she claimed, asked her to lodge the police complaint.