MUMBAI: Controversial self-styled 'godwoman' Radhe Maa was today granted interim pre-arrest bail by the Bombay High Court in a case of alleged dowry harassment, a day after a sessions court rejected her anticipatory bail plea.
The interim protection from arrest until two weeks was granted by Justice Mridula Bhatkar on a petition filed by Sukhvinder Kaur alias Radhe Maa. The matter would be heard again after a fortnight.
A sessions court had rejected the anticipatory bail petition of Radhe Maa yesterday.
The Mumbai police had filed a case against her on August 5 for allegedly instigating the in-laws of a 32-year-old woman to harass her for dowry.
The case was filed after a Borivali Magistrate had ordered a probe by police under section 156(3) of Cr.Pc into allegations of dowry harassment against her on a complaint filed by a housewife.
Counsel for the Radhe Maa, Abad Ponda, argued in the High Court that all the six accused in the dowry case, including the husband of the complainant (housewife), had been given protection by the trial court except Radhe Maa.
He also argued that the allegation against Radhe Maa of instigating the family to extract dowry from the complainant was an 'after-thought' and an improvement in the case because such an accusation was not made during the proceedings filed in the family court two years ago.
The High Court also noted these two reasons in its order while granting interim protection to her.
In her petition, Radhe Maa denied all the allegations, saying she had never instigated the family members and that she was being dragged into the case only because the complainant's in-laws were her devotees.
The self-styled spiritual leader further alleged that the complainant had levelled allegations against her only to secure a favourable order from the family court in the dowry case filed by her against in-laws. She alleged that she was being "framed up" by the complainant.
Radhe Maa contended that the police had summoned her for questioning today but she apprehended that they would arrest her in the case as the sessions court had rejected her plea for pre-arrest bail.