TAMIL NADU

Bail or detention depends on VC daughter-in-law's statement

CHENNAI OCT. 13. The Madras High Court has told the Periyar University Vice-Chancellor and his family, facing dowry and sexual harassment charges, that its granting them anticipatory bail or ordering their detention will depend entirely on the statements the daughter-in-law makes on Wednesday.

According to Sangeetha, who lived with her husband only for a week before he left for the U.S. after their marriage, the Vice-Chancellor attempted to misbehave with her. She also claimed that she was harassed for more dowry.

While hearing the anticipatory bail petition filed by Mr. Ramalingam and others, Justice M. Karpagavinayagam, who had summoned everyone to the court today, asked the Vice-Chancellor why his son failed to meet Ms. Sangeetha during his 10-day visit to the country earlier this year. Describing this failure as a big blunder, the judge said Mr. Ramalingam had not handled the family problem properly.

Earlier, the judge wanted to know from the complainant whether she desired to live with her husband, Rajavel, or wanted to see the entire family behind bars. Ms. Sangeetha made it clear that she did not want to be reunited with Mr. Rajavel.

Disapproving of the contention in the petition that Ms. Sangeetha was mentally unsound, the judge said it was unfortunate that such an allegation had been made. He also pointed out that though she kept writing letters, full of emotions and intimate details, Mr. Rajavel's letters insisted only on her medical details, making it clear that he was keen on creating records. ``She is mentally upset at the treatment she got in the in-laws' house, and is not mentally unsound,'' Mr. Justice Karpagavinayagam said.

The judge, however, said the allegation of the Vice-Chancellor having misbehaved with her might be true or might have been made for publicity. He then asked Ms. Sangeetha to think over the issue and let the court know about her stand on Wednesday. ``Unless the matter is settled, I may not be in a position to grant anticipatory bail.''

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