Babu in rape case told not to alter FB profile

Written By Unknown on Sabtu, 25 Oktober 2014 | 22.23

Shibu Thomas, TNN | Oct 24, 2014, 02.20AM IST

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MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed a senior state bureaucrat facing rape allegations not to make any changes to his Facebook page, even as it granted him interim protection from arrest till October 31.

Vivek Dahiphale, a joint secretary in the irrigation department, had approached the HC vacation bench following a case registered by a 41-year-old Nahur resident he had met on Facebook and who accused him of raping her on the pretext of marriage. The HC order to preserve online evidence reflects the trend of social media profiles, posts and messages playing a crucial part in criminal investigations.

Justice A K Menon directed that in the event Dahiphale is arrested, he should be released on a bail of Rs 25,000 and a surety of a like amount. "Prima facie it does not appear that custodial interrogation is necessary in the case at this stage," said Justice Menon.

"Dahiphale is directed not to contact the complainant. He shall not make any changes to his Facebook page or tamper with other evidence in connection with the offence," the judge added. The HC has restrained Dahiphale from leaving the country without prior permission and has also asked him to report to the Alibaug police station, where the case is registered, every Friday for the purpose of investigations.

The Nahur resident had approached the Kherwadi police station on September 28, 2014 and lodged an FIR alleging rape under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code. She alleged that the accused had met her online on the social media site in 2012 and had later proposed marriage. She alleged that the accused had raped her at various places in Alibaug after assuring her that he will marry her.

The Kherwadi police station transferred the case to Alibaug police, under whose jurisdiction the crime was alleged to have been committed. Earlier this month, a sessions court refused to grant interim protection after which Dahiphale approached the HC. Additional public prosecutor Arfan Sait opposed the bail application. Advocate Prashant Pandey, counsel for the accused, claimed that Dahiphale had been falsely implicated in the case and the relationship was consensual. The petition, among its exhibits, relies on transcripts of facebook conversations.

The HC has scheduled the hearing of the application on October 30, once the court reopens after Diwali vacation.

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