The Bombay High Court recently rejected the bail of a man who took undue advantage of the loneliness of a married woman he met on Facebook, took her nude photographs and videos, and shared them via WhatsApp.
A single Bench of Justice Nitin Sambre was hearing the bail application of Saurabh Sukhija, who was arrested in July 2021.
According to the prosecution, Mr. Sukhija claimed to a single person who met the complainant in June 2019 on Facebook and took undue advantage of her as her husband lives in a foreign country. He blackmailed her for her nude photographs and videos, and travelled from Punjab to Pune to meet her.
In his defence, he said that all the photographs and videos had been taken with consent. It was later revealed by the investigation that he was married and there was a matrimonial dispute in his life. This was when he met the complainant online.
He had sexual relations with her after promising her marriage, and extorted money and jewellery from the woman. To this, the court noted: "The fact that Mr. Bhatia informed the lady about his disturbed married life and promised to marry her and established physical relations, rightly promoted the prosecution to invoke Section 376 (punishment for rape) of the Indian Penal Code."
"The aforesaid conduct has maligned the image of the survivor and she is not able to face the society at large," the Bench said.
The court recorded the statement by another victim, who had narrated a similar experience at the hands of Mr. Sukhija and remarked, "He appears to have a criminal mentality in the matter of commissioning similar offences."
The accused has been charged under Sections 376, 354D (stalking), 380 (theft in dwelling house), 500 (punishment for defamation), and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) of the IPC, and relevant Sections of Information Technology Act.