Daati Maharaj rape case: HC asks CBI reasons for cancellation of anticipatory bail

Daati Maharaj rape case: HC asks CBI reasons for cancellation of anticipatory bail
Highlights

The Delhi High Court on Thursday asked the CBI to explain why it was seeking cancellation of anticipatory bail granted to selfstyled preacher Daati Maharaj in a rape case

The court asked the agency about the steps taken by it to take him into custody, as the matter was transferred to the CBI in October 2018.

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday asked the CBI to explain why it was seeking cancellation of anticipatory bail granted to self-styled preacher Daati Maharaj in a rape case.

The court asked the agency about the steps taken by it to take him into custody, as the matter was transferred to the CBI in October 2018. The high court was hearing a CBI plea seeking cancellation of anticipatory bail granted to Daati and three others by a trial court here in January this year. "Where do you say (in the plea) why custodial interrogation is required? Nothing is there," Justice Chander Shekhar asked the CBI. The CBI's prosecutor said the alleged crime happened in Rajasthan. The Delhi Police had registered an FIR, which was later transferred to the CBI.

He said that they required two things to form an opinion in the case – re-examine the witnesses to see if they were examined properly by the earlier agency and if they were cooperating in the case.

The CBI said it was challenging the absolute protection given to the accused from being arrested as he would not cooperate in the investigation now.

The prosecutor also said they have moved a proposal for custodial interrogation of the accused which was pending before the agency's director. To this, the court asked the CBI to bring the proposal and other relevant documents before it on the next date of hearing, February 26.

A division bench of the high court had earlier transferred the probe into the rape case to the CBI. The preacher had filed a petition seeking review of the court's decision transferring the rape probe to the CBI. The court, however, had dismissed the plea on November 14, 2018. The court had said the investigation was handed over to the CBI "after going through the charge sheet in detail" and after considering the plea moved by the "victim herself".

On October 3, 2018, the high court had said that the manner in which the probe was carried out by police "casts a shadow on the investigation" as it did not arrest the accused in the case even after recording the complainant's statement before a magistrate under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

The preacher's plea against the October 3, 2018, order was initially filed in the Supreme Court which had asked him to approach the high court with his grievance. The CBI had registered a case of rape and unnatural sex against Daati on October 26. A complaint was filed against Daati Madan Lal alias Daati Maharaj on June 7, 2018, and an FIR was registered on June 11.

On June 22, police questioned the accused, who has been charged with rape of a disciple at his ashrams in Delhi and Rajasthan. The accused has claimed that he was being framed. The complainant has filed the case against the preacher, his three brothers and a woman at Fatehpur Beri police station in South Delhi. The case was later transferred to the crime branch.

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