Panaji: A district court in Mapusa town near here today granted anticipatory bail to Fabindia's Candolim store manager Chaitrali Sawant in connection with the voyeurism case.
The voyeurism case was filed against the outlet's staff after Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani, who visited the Fabindia store at Candolim on Friday, alleged that it had a CCTV camera focusing at the trial room. Sawant, who had been untraceable after the incident, moved the court for anticipatory bail through her lawyer on Saturday.
The court, while granting the bail, asked Sawant to be present before the investigating officers for two days (today and tomorrow) as part of the probe in the case. Judge Desmond D'Costa, in his order, said that all the sections applied in the case are bailable, expect section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of IPC.
He observed that IPC section 354 does not apply to her as she was not present in the store when the incident happened. Defence lawyer Raju Poulekar said that the custodial interrogation of Sawant was not required as she was not present at the spot when the incident happened. However, public prosecutor Anuradha Talaulikar argued that it is a very serious offence against women and custodial interrogation is necessitated.
Meanwhile, BJP MLA from Goa Michael Lobo, who had filed the complaint, today said that the company should issue a public apology over the incident.
“The Fabindia bosses should own responsibility for the incident and issue public apology as the incident has happened in their outlet,” Lobo told PTI today.
“I fully agree that bosses cannot keep a check on each of the CCTV cameras, but it is evident that some of the employees have played mischief. Fabindia cannot disown responsibility of the entire incident,” he said.
When asked about the probe into the incident he said, “I am happy with the investigation.” After Irani alleged that the Fabindia store at Candolim had a CCTV camera focusing at the trial room, four employees of the outlet—Paresh Bhagat, Raju Payanche, Prashant Naik and Karim Lakhani—were arrested and booked under IPC sections 354C (voyeurism), 509 (intrusion into privacy) and IT Act's section 66E (capturing, publishing image of private area of any person without his/her consent).
However, they were later granted bail by a local court which said that police had made out no grounds for custodial interrogation.
Fabindia has also denied that it had placed hidden cameras in any of its stores.
According to a statement issued by Fabindia earlier, the camera in question at Candolim store was part of the surveillance system and was installed in the shopping area.