SC grants anticipatory bail to Goa restaurant owner in rape case

New Delhi, March 29 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday granted anticipatory bail to Jude Lobo, owner of Goa’s Calangute-based Souza Lobo restaurant, in a rape case.

In a special sitting during its week-long Holi vacation, a bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan said: “We are satisfied that the petitioner has made out a prima facie case for grant of anticipatory bail. We direct that in event the petitioner is arrested, he shall be released on submitting a personal bond of Rs 10,000. The petitioner shall cooperate with the investigation.”

The bench made these remarks after examining the contents of the FIR, the statement of the woman before a judicial officer and her WhatsApp chats.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing the petitioner, submitted before the bench that the case was a perfect example of a ‘cock and bull story’. He also referred to WhatsApp chat of December 2020 between the petitioner and prosecutrix which has been brought on the record.

An FIR was lodged by the woman under Sections 328, 376 and 506 of Indian Penal Code at the Bhajanpura police station in Delhi. Lobo’s application seeking anticipatory bail was filed before Additional Sessions Judge, Karkardooma Courts, Delhi and on February 27, he was granted interim protection against arrest. However, on March 22, the special judge (NDPS), northeast, Delhi dismissed the anticipatory bail application.

Lobo filed an application for anticipatory bail in the Delhi High Court, which was rejected on March 26. He then filed a special leave petition in the top court challenging the High Court order.

Rohatgi argued that the woman lodged the FIR in December 2020, while the rape allegations were of 2009. He submitted before the bench that woman wanted to host a party at his client’s restaurant, which he declined, due to Covid-19 regulations.

He said the woman claimed to have met his client 10 years ago and that he would marry her, but the matter is that Lobo was already married and had three children, out of which two were adults. He added the woman claimed she would not get justice in Goa, so she registered a case in Delhi.

Granting anticipatory bail, the bench said: “We have perused the first information report as well as the statement recorded by the prosecutrix under Section 164 Cr.P.C.”

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