The Bombay High Court has suspended the life sentence awarded to a divisional assistant in the Health Department in Daman who was convicted of rape.
A Division Bench of Justice B.R. Gavai and Justice B.P. Colabawalla was hearing a plea filed by Jesus Colaco seeking suspension of his sentence and grant of bail.
On March 22, 2013, Divisional Assistant Nilima Patel while using Colaco’s computer accidentally saw videos of him having sex with minor girls. She immediately informed her colleagues and an FIR was registered against Colaco at Coastal police station.
A sessions court in Daman found Colaco guilty of rape and charges under Section 67 (punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) of the Information Technology Act. He was awarded life sentence and a fine of ₹2,000. However, the court dismissed all charges levelled against him under the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act as the prosecution failed to prove the girls were minors.
The High Court, while hearing the plea, observed that the girls in the video and their parents were unwilling to depose in court against Colaco. The court also noted that the video clips were sent for forensic analysis on April 22, 2013. The court observed that the lab assistant had admitted that there could be a possibility of the clips being morphed.
The court released Colaco on bail after it noted that he had been in custody for four years and nine months.
Coloco had to furnish a bond ₹1 lakh before being granted bail.