SC favours suspended RJD MLA’s custody till victim deposes

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today rejected a plea by suspended MLA Raj Ballabh Yadav, accused in a rape case, to remain outside Bihar, favouring that the RJD legislator should remain in jail till the victim records her statement “fairly and without any fear”.

A bench of Justices A K Sikri and N V Ramana, which rejected Yadav’s prayer to stay outside the state till the victim deposed before the court, said it was “more concerned” about the safety of minor rape survivor.

“We want prosecutrix to be examined fairly and without any fear and threat. We are more concerned about the safety of the prosecutrix. She should depose in fairest manner and without any fear,” the bench said.

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for Yadav, said he was volunteering to stay outside the state till the victim records the statement. The bench said this cannot be done, he should not be “outside” but “inside”. But Dave said it would amount to staying the Patna High Court order granting bail and suggested hearing of the matter.

Advocate Gopal Singh, appearing for state, said if the accused is outside jail, the victim cannot depose before the trial court out of fear. The bench then posted the matter for further hearing on October 27.

The apex court had on October 18 directed the trial court not to record the testimony of the minor rape survivor till October 24 after the state government submitted that she felt threatened due to the accused being out on bail.

The apex court had on October 7 sought the response of the legislator on a plea by the Nitish Kumar government challenging the bail granted to him by the Patna High Court.

Yadav had allegedly raped the minor girl at his residence in Biharsharif on February 6 this year. After evading arrest for a considerable time, he surrendered after a local court issue proclamation notice and an order to attach his properties for not surrendering before the police.

The Bihar Police, in its charge sheet, had also named a woman and her relatives as accused on the ground that they had been allegedly supplying women to the MLA representing Nawada Assembly constituency. The RJD had suspended Yadav from the party on February 14, a day after his arrest warrant was issued.