Rape-accused Kerala govt pleader evades arrest for 60 days, stays in jail for just 50

While granting him bail on March 22, Justice Sophy Thomas noted that the case against PG Manu was very serious in nature, since he allegedly took advantage of his position of power.
Kerala High Court grants bail to PG Manu, former government pleader accused of rape
Kerala High Court grants bail to PG Manu, former government pleader accused of rape
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The Kerala High Court on Friday, March 22, granted bail to advocate PG Manu, a former senior government pleader accused of raping a client multiple times. The bail was allowed just over 50 days after Manu, who used to practise at the High Court, surrendered before the Puthencruz police in Ernakulam. He evaded arrest for more than 60 days before he surrendered on January 31. 

The High Court had first dismissed Manu’s anticipatory bail plea on December 22, allowing him 10 days to surrender before the investigating officer. On January 4, the court granted him an additional 10 days. After the deadline for surrender expired on January 14, Puthencruz Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) TB Vijayan issued a lookout notice for Manu. The accused subsequently approached the SC with a renewed petition, which was dismissed by the apex court bench on January 29. The SC, however, upheld the HC order that once Manu was arrested, his bail application shall be considered without delay. He surrendered two days later.

While granting him bail, Justice Sophy Thomas noted that the case against Manu was very serious in nature, since he allegedly took advantage of his position of power. But he was eligible for bail, the court added, because the probe in the case has been completed and the final report was filed. 

The court imposed several conditions while granting Manu bail, including the execution of a bond for Rs 2 lakh and the surrender of his passport. He has been asked to report before the investigating officer at 3 pm on the first Saturday of every month until all the witnesses in the case are examined in the trial. He should not enter the limits of the Chottanikkara police station until the trial is over, except when he has to report before the investigating officer. He has also been directed not to contact the survivor or her family members, or cause any form of harassment to them.

"The fact that the petitioner was a senior government pleader of this Court and that he sexually exploited a hapless lady who approached him to settle a case which was registered at her instance is a serious thing to be taken note of. The petitioner who was in a position to dominate the will of the victim sexually exploited her and committed rape and sent obscene videos to her continuously," the court said in the order, as per a report by the Bar and Bench.

Manu was charged with sections 376 (rape), 354 (outraging the modesty of a woman), and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), besides sections of the Information Technology Act. As per the complaint against him, the survivor had approached him seeking legal consultation for a case she filed in 2018, another heinous crime.

The first incident of rape allegedly happened after he called her to his office on the pretext of discussing the case and assaulted her on October 9, 2023. The complaint stated that he threatened her against telling anyone about what happened. He attacked her twice again, on October 24 and 29, besides shooting private photos and videos of her on his phone, said the complaint. 

The complainant’s lawyer, Padma Lakshmi, had previously told TNM that after a case was registered against him, Manu contacted the complainant’s family with a plea to settle the case and arrive at a compromise. In a recording of the call that TNM received, he can be heard saying, “Please don’t destroy my life. I am about to be selected for the judges’ panel. I will fall at your feet.” When the complainant’s suffering was pointed out to him, he claimed he would give “any compensation” that was required. 

After the case was filed, the office of the Advocate General of Kerala directed Manu to resign as the senior government pleader, and he submitted his resignation on November 30. Manu had reportedly been the counsel for the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in Kerala.

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