Kerala HC grants bail to former state government lawyer accused in rape case

The high court said that the accused shall be released on bail on furnishing a bond of ₹2 lakh with two solvent sureties each.


Published Mar 22, 2024 | 5:11 PMUpdatedMar 22, 2024 | 5:12 PM

The Kerala HC granted an interim stay on the NGT order imposing a fine of ₹100 crore on the Kochi Corporation. (Wikimedia Commons)

The Kerala High Court on Friday, 22 March, granted regular bail to a former senior government pleader who is accused of raping a woman multiple times at his office and her residence.

While giving relief to the accused lawyer — PG Manu — Justice Sophy Thomas observed that a serious note has to be taken of the fact that he was a senior government lawyer in the High Court and that he allegedly “sexually exploited a hapless lady” who approached him to settle a case, in which she was the victim.

“The allegation is that the petitioner, who was in a position to dominate the will of the victim, sexually exploited her, committed rape on her twice, and sent obscene videos to her continuously,” the high court noted.

However, since the investigation was over and the final report had been filed, the high court was of the view that he could be released on bail, but subject to stringent conditions to ensure the safety and security of the survivor lady.

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Bail conditions

The high court said that the accused shall be released on bail on furnishing a bond of ₹2 lakh with two solvent sureties each.

The other conditions imposed on him were that he shall report before the investigating officer on the first Saturday of every month at 3 pm till the material witnesses are being examined, he shall not contact the victim or her family nor cause any harassment to them directly or indirectly and he shall not influence or intimidate the witnesses or tamper with the evidence in the case.

The accused lawyer had surrendered before the police only after the Supreme Court in January rejected his anticipatory bail plea and gave him 10 days to surrender before the police.

Prior to that, a lookout notice was issued against him after the time given to him by the Kerala High Court to surrender before the police expired on 12 January. That was the second extension given by the high court to Manu to surrender before the police.

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An FIR under various provisions of the IPC, including Sections 376 (rape), 354 (outraging modesty of a woman) and 506 (intimidation), and the Information Technology Act was lodged against the lawyer on 29 November last year. The action was taken following a complaint given by the victim.

Subsequently, the lawyer had tendered his resignation.

According to the woman’s complaint, the lawyer had called her to his office for recording a statement in connection with some case and allegedly raped her.

The first incident was on 9 October, 2023, and subsequently, he raped her two more times on 24 October, 2023, and 29 October, 2023, the woman has alleged in her complaint.

Thereafter, he kept harassing her over the phone and also sent her obscene photos and videos, she alleged in her complaint.

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