The Allahabad High Court has granted bail to the accused in the infamous 2019 case involving alleged burning to death of a rape victim by her perpetrators and their relatives.

"If an accused has committed an offence, he must be punished adequately under the provisions of the law, but merely if a case has received publicity and media attention, a person should not be made to suffer unless he is actually guilty for committing the crime", Justice Dinesh Kumar Singh held while granting bail.

As per the prosecution, in December 2019, the victim was on her way to the Unnao Railway Station to catch a train to Raebareli to attend her case was being tried in Raebareli. On her way, the accused in the rape case hit on her head and assaulted her with a knife on her neck and set her on fire after dousing her with petrol. She suffered from 90% burn injury and died a few days later in hospital.

The three accused, Umesh Kumar Bajpai, Ram Kishor Trivedi and Hari Shankar Trivedi, who are in prison since December 2019 moved the High Court seeking bail.

It was argued on behalf of the accused, who are charged with offences under Sections 302, 147, 342, 324, 326, 506 and 34 of IPC that though the deceased in her dying declaration had said that she was assaulted on her head by danda and on the neck by knife, the post mortem report would totally belie the allegation.

It was also contended that on the date the deceased was allegedly travelling alone in the morning to attend her case in Raebareli, the case was not listed and even the charge sheet had not been filed. It was also argued that the train that she was supposed to board had been cancelled a few days back. It was pointed out that the two accused in the rape case had already been granted bail in the said case.

It was alleged that the victim had been putting pressure for marriage with one of the accused. It was also contended that no reasonable man would believe in the story set up by the prosecution that the accused, who are father and sons and close relations would know that the deceased would be going to Raebareli at a particular time and they would surround her and commit the crime as alleged.

The accused argued that "..the investigating agency intercepted WhatsApp messages between the victim and lawyerMahendra Singh Rathore. The said chat would show that the victim was in physical contact with several persons, which would be apparent from video chats found by the police through her Whatsapp messages". It was also argued that it is difficult to believe that the father and his sons would commit rape on the victim together, as alleged by the complainant brother of the victim.

The Court held that the prosecution has not been able to dispute the factual aspects pointed out by the accused. The Court noted that "It is true that the said incident received huge media attention and the complainant and his family received more than adequate financial aid from the Government".

The Court granted bail to the three accused.

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