Swarup Chowdhury, who had been arrested on Wednesday for allegedly holding a 24-year-old woman captive in his Garfa home for a fortnight and molesting her, has been granted bail though one of the charges slapped against him was non-bailable.
Chowdhury had charges of extortion, molestation, wrongful confinement for more than 10 days and assault slapped on him. Extortion is non-bailable in the Indian Penal Code.
“Chowdhury was granted conditional bail by the Alipore court despite having a non-bailable charge against him,” said a police officer.
“It is unusual for a person accused of extortion and wrongful confinement to be granted bail within a day of his arrest,” conceded a senior cop.
Lawyers, however, said granting bail was the magistrate’s discretion.
“Interim bail or conditional bail can always be granted to even those who have non-bailable charges against them. Though it is not very common, it is allowed,” said a senior lawyer at Alipore court.
It was mistakenly mentioned in Metro on January 3 that Chowdhury was remanded in police custody.
Chowdhury was granted interim bail on the condition that he wouldn’t leave the city without informing the local police station and he would appear before the police regularly. Court sources said Chowdhury’s lawyer pleaded for bail on the grounds that his teenage daughter had gone missing.
Chowdhury had been arrested from his Shahidnagar home on Tuesday after a woman complained he had held her captive in his house for 15 days, molested her and tried to extort money for her release.
Hours after the alleged victim’s escape by jumping off Chowdhury’s moving scooter, his teenaged daughter went missing. A diary has been lodged. The alleged victim was escorted by police to Howrah station on Wednesday night, from where she took a train to her home in Bihar, said a source.