SHC confirms pre-arrest bail of man in kidnapping and rape case

Jamal Khurshid
Monday, Jan 23, 2023

The Sindh High Court (SHC) has recently confirmed pre-arrest bail of a man in a case involving allegations of kidnapping for ransom, child marriage and rape.

Sahib Khan Chandio was booked by police for his alleged involvement in kidnapping for ransom, child marriage and rape. According to the prosecution, the complainant had alleged that his 16-year-old daughter was kidnapped by three men — Mohammad Tahir Jatoi, Khuda Bux Jatoi and Mohammad Sultan — in connivance of the applicant for ransom and rape.

Police later included the child marriage restraint charges against Tahir following the girl’s statement that she was married off to Tahir.

A counsel for the applicant submitted that the applicant was included in the case because ostensibly Tahir had taken the girl to the applicant’s home where she changed her school uniform to normal everyday clothes and left with Tahir.

The counsel submitted that the applicant had nothing to do with the case as he was accused of neither rape nor kidnapping and the only allegation against him, which, according to him was false too, was that the girl had been brought to his house and she had changed her clothes there.

The counsel submitted that it was on record that the girl had married Tahir but no medical check-up of her was done as she herself declined to be examined. An additional prosecutor general supported the trial court order which had declined bail to the applicant.

A single bench of the SHC headed by Justice Omar Sial after hearing the arguments observed that prima facie there was documentation on record which reflected that the girl may be an adult who had married Tahir of her own free will, and she appeared herself before a district court, Sukkur, as well as the SHC, Sukkur, and represented that neither had she been kidnapped nor had she been raped and that she had married Tahir of her own free will.

The high court observed that another claim of the girl that she had been forced to do everything prima facie did not sound too convincing as the record showed that she was sent to the Darul Aman on her own and that she was exposed alone to several police officers, whom she could have informed about her plight.

The bench observed that the veracity and truth of the girl’s statements would have to be evaluated at the trial. The high court observed that there was no witness who had seen the girl being kidnapped by anybody from the gate of the school where she was dropped by a rickshaw driver.

The SHC observed that there also appeared to be no evidence that would prima facie establish the charge of rape, which even in any case, had not been put against the applicant. The SHC observed that the only allegation against the applicant was that the girl was taken at his house by Tahir and this simple fact, even if true, was not sufficient to deny the applicant bail.

The high court observed that whether or not the applicant shared a common intention with Tahir would have to be determined after evidence is led at trial. The SHC observed that facts of the case were such that mala fide intent of the complainant, who himself is a police officer deployed in the investigations department, against everybody he suspected being involved in the whole episode could certainly not be overruled at this preliminary stage. The bench confirmed the pre-arrest bail of the applicant granted to him earlier on the same terms and conditions.