Bangalore: Karnataka High Court Wednesday granted conditional bail to French diplomat Pascal Mazurier, arrested for allegedly raping his minor daughter, observing that circumstantial evidence did not "specify" that he had committed the offence.
Allowing Mazurier`s bail plea, Justice HN Nagamohan Das said there was a delay in lodging the complaint and sought to know the reason for it as, though the incident was reported to have taken place on June 13, 2012, it was filed by Pascal`s wife Suja Jones only the next day.
The court said there were no eyewitnesses to the incident.
Mazurier was granted bail on the condition that he furnish a personal bond of Rs one lakh with two local solvent sureties for the like sum.
The court also asked him to surrender his passport with the jurisdictional magistrate, not to leave the jurisdiction of the court without prior permission and in no manner tamper with the prosecution witnesses.
Mazurier, Consular Attache to the Consulate General of France here, was arrested on June 19 following a complaint by his wife, a native of Kerala, alleging that he had raped their three-and-a-half year old daughter.
A Fast Track Court had earlier rejected the bail plea of Mazurier, who was charge sheeted on September 17 under Section 376 of IPC for allegedly raping his minor daughter.
In its order today, the court said, "According to the complainant (Suja Jones), the minor girl told that the petitioner had hurt her. Thus the victim is capable of speaking and her statement is not recorded."
It said circumstantial evidence based on the statements given by three witnesses, nanny Geeta, Jyothi, the cook and Charles, the driver "do not specify that the petitioner committed the offence. At this stage, even the statement given by the complainant is vague, not definite and clear".
The court also observed "the medical report by Bangalore Baptist Hospital specifies there is sexual assault on the minor victim. This medical report does not connect the involvement of the petitioner in the crime....... Thus the report submitted by the Baptist Hospital read with the DNA report do not prima facie indicate involvement of the petitioner in the alleged crime".
Since the witnesses "are in favour" of the petitioner (Mazurier), there was no question of his tampering with them and since investigation is completed, there are no circumstances warranting continuance of his custody, it said.
Noting that Mazurier was a French citizen and presently working with Consulate of France, the court, however, said "The apprehension in the mind of prosecution that the petitioner may jump conditions of bail and he may not be available for trial is to be safeguarded by putting him on strict terms".
Earlier, in her submission Pramila Nesargi, counsel for Suja Jones, claimed that investigation carried out so far had been done in a "haphazard and biased manner" and the crucial medical records submitted by her client find no mention in the chargesheet.
Nesargi had further claimed that the "actual DNA profile of the child has not been done at all" and since the probe in the matter is still incomplete, in the wake of the "character of the petitioner", there is not only every chance of he tampering with the witnesses but there is also a danger to the life of the child.
Special Public Prosecutor HS Chandramouli also submitted that since further investigation is to be conducted, custody of the petitioner is necessary.
In reply, senior counsel CV Nagesh representing Mazurier asserted that case was totally based on circumstantial evidence of the nanny, the cook and the driver and the complainant (Suja Jones) was never present on the scene.
He further submitted that the DNA report which has been submitted "clearly points out that the DNA samples of the child do not match with that of the father".
Nagesh ruled out tampering of witnesses by his client and the witnesses are only going to help in the case and reiterated that DNA report would only exonerate his client and therefore there was no question of his tampering with the evidence or the witnesses.