New Delhi: BSP MP Dhananjay Singh, arrested along with his wife Jagriti Singh in connection with the murder of their maid, was on Wednesday denied bail by a Delhi court which said allegations against him were "very serious" and he does not deserve any leniency due his previous conduct.
The court also directed the police to provide protection to principal witnesses till the time their statements are recorded in the trial.
The court, in its 14-page order, observed that the accused in the case are "very powerful persons" while the victims are poor and vulnerable and their safety and security should be ensured by the police so that they can depose before it without any fear.
"Therefore, a copy of the order be sent to the DCP, New Delhi, to provide protection to principal witnesses... (a minor and another maid) till the time the recording of their evidence is concluded at the time of trial.
"Another copy of the order be sent to the Joint Secretary (Home) GNCT, Delhi, to provide necessary cooperation to the police for providing safe abode and other facilities, ensuring the security and protection of the witnesses and their families. A copy of the order be also sent to the Commissioner of Police, Delhi for information and necessary action at his end," the court said.
The court in its order also mentioned the list of cases, provided by police, filed against Dhananjay according to which out of 31 cases, only two are pending adjudication while in other cases either he had been acquitted or discharged.
Dhananjay and Jagriti were arrested on November 5 in connection with the death of their 35-year-old maid Rakhi Bhadra, a resident of West Bengal.
While rejecting Dhananjay`s bail, the court said that he is in a commanding and formidable position to misuse the benefit of bail.
"It is manifestly apparent that the accused is in a commanding position as far his professional standing is concerned and has ample means to alter the course of investigation. He has an extensive record of previous antecedents and is in formidable position to misuse the benefit of bail, if granted to him," the court said.
It also said that Dhananjay`s conduct in not informing the police immediately after he came to know about the incident clearly speaks about his conduct.
"Even if the contention of the accused that he was in Jaunpur at the time of death is taken on its face value, then also his conduct in choosing not to inform the police immediately and informing them only after 8-10 hours clearly speaks volume about his conduct.
"The accused had also never cared to inform the police about the constant torture meted out by his wife in his house to the victims over a long period of time," the court said.
During the day, Dhananjay and Jagriti, a dental surgeon at the R M L Hospital here, were also produced before the court after expiry of their judicial custody and the court extended it till December 3.
Earlier, Dhananjay had sought bail on the ground that it was he who had informed the police about the incident at 175, South Avenue here, and he was not in Delhi between November 1 to November 4 when the incident took place.
The MP`s counsel had told the court that Dhananjay had moved a plea seeking divorce from Jagriti. He has been residing separately at 126, South Avenue, and one of the reasons for seeking divorce is this very aspect that she (Jagriti) was treating him and the servants cruelly, he had said.
The bail plea, however, was opposed by the police claiming he was aware of the cruelty being meted out to the servants and had also beaten one of them.
The police had told the court that as per the forensic reports of digital video recorders (DVRs) of 20 CCTV cameras installed at the MP`s residence where the incident took place, some of their contents have been "formatted" and Dhananjay had handed over these footages to investigators after a lapse of around 15 hours.
Dhananjay, who already faces charges of murder and offences under the UP Gangsters Act, was arrested for allegedly destroying evidence, not informing police about the maid`s death immediately and employing a juvenile as domestic help.
Jagriti has been arrested under sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 344 (wrongful confinement) of Indian Penal code and Juvenile Justice Act.
The police had said the CCTV cameras were installed in the MP`s house to keep a tab on servants` movements and Jagriti controlled cameras through her mobile phone and TV set.
The police had said that besides the maid, who is now dead, two more domestic helps, including Rampal, were employed at the MP`s residence and were also beaten up mercilessly by Jagriti, 29, and her husband Dhananjay, 38.
They said the accused used wooden sticks, iron rods, iron press and even metallic, artificial deer horns to beat the maids. Regarding Dhananjay, the police said that after the incident, he tried to destroy the video recording of 20 CCTV cameras installed in his house.
Dhananjay has already filed for divorce from Jagriti, and the matter is pending before a court. Jagriti is the second wife of Dhananjay, whose first wife committed suicide in 2007, police said.