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SC declines protection from arrest to SP-BSP candidate in rape case

New Delhi, May 17 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Friday refused to grant protection from arrest to the SP-BSP candidate Atul Rai, who is on the run in an alleged rape case, from Ghosi parliamentary constituency in Uttar Pradesh.

A vacation bench comprising Justices Indira Banarjee and Sanjiv Khanna said: “Absolutely no case,” at the beginning of the hearing.

Rai’s counsel sought to bring urgency of relief to the case by emphasizing that polling is due in Ghosi in the last phase of the 7-phase general election on May 19. The court, however, said, “It is not a case for quashing. Fight the election and this case too…Sorry, you are well aware about the procedure of quashing”.

An FIR was registered against Rai on May 1 on a complaint by a college student who alleged that Rai had sexually assaulted her. Rai moved the Supreme Court on Tuesday seeking protection from arrest till the end of the general election on May 23.

Rai’s counsel told the court that an FIR was lodged after he filed nomination papers for contesting the polls on April 26 and indicated the political nature of the case.

The counsel contended before the court that two cases of similar nature, wherein similar allegations have been leveled by the complainant, have already been resolved through compromise.

The court queried the counsel on the documents related to these cases. “You have not filed documents. We do not know what you are saying is truth or not.” The court also reckoned that the counsel’s attempt to give a political colour to the case is simply “vague”.

The court also refused to grant any interim relief in any coercive action, a possible arrest in the case, against Rai till May 19.

Rai’s counsel cited the absence of any provision of anticipatory bail in Uttar Pradesh and told the court that the High Court on May 8 dismissed his petition seeking protection, and that he is certainly exposed to arrest in the case.

He also sought protection from arrest at least till May 23, the day of declaration of election result, but the court did not relent.

The court has adjourned the plea to May 27.

Earlier, this week, Rai’ counsel had mentioned his plea as urgent, seeking anticipatory bail before the vacation bench comprising Justices Sanjeev Khanna and Indira Banerjee.

Rai is reportedly absconding after an FIR was registered against him in a police station in Varanasi by a college student on May 1.

Rai’s counsel contended that it is a politically motivated case to prevent him from campaigning in the ongoing general election.

The Ghosi parliamentary constituency is located in Mau district, eastern Uttar Pradesh, where polls are due on May 19.



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