SC rejects rape convict Bitti Mohanty's plea for early release, allows conditional transfer to Odisha jail

A convict in the German tourist rape case, Mohanty, who has been undergoing chemotherapy in Odisha, sought release after serving five years of his seven-year jail sentence.
Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of IndiaFile Photo | PTI

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court's two-judge vacation bench, led by Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Arvind Kumar, on Friday rejected rape convict Bitti Mohanty's plea for early release but allowed him to surrender at Circle Jail in Cuttack, Odisha, provided the Rajasthan government agreed to it.

The conviction of Mohanty by a sessions court and then the Rajasthan High Court had been affirmed earlier by the same bench.

The two-judge bench of the top court, led by Justice JK Maheshwari and Justice Sanjay Karol, did not find any merit in Mohanty's application and disposed of the Special Leave Petition (SLP) seeking modification in the judgment affirming conviction on April 4.

Mohanty, who has been undergoing chemotherapy in Odisha, sought release after serving five years of his seven-year jail sentence. His plea for release was based on the period he already served and his ongoing cancer treatment.

Despite considering Mohanty's medical condition, the Supreme Court dismissed his plea for early release from jail.

Mohanty's plea for early release from jail was also vehemently opposed by the Rajasthan government, represented by Shiv Mangal Sharma, Additional Advocate General (AAG), and senior Supreme Court lawyer, who highlighted in the court that Mohanty should be dealt with severely as the victim was a foreign national and it would be a step towards combating crimes against women.

On April 4, the Supreme Court upheld the Rajasthan High Court's verdict of a seven-year jail sentence for Mohanty, the son of Odisha's former DGP Bidya Bhushan Mohanty, for raping a German tourist in Alwar, Rajasthan, in 2006.

Mohanty, who was initially granted bail on March 31, 2017, was directed to surrender by June 5, 2024, by the apex court.

Mohanty was convicted by the fast track trial court in Alwar within 15 days of his arrest on April 12, 2006 and the Rajasthan HC upheld his conviction in the same year on October 4. 

Sharma had in his argument said that Mohanty's conviction was already upheld by the SC and hence his early release is unwarranted keeping in view his brutal role in raping a German national. "It is a serious crime against a foreigner. The Rajasthan government is very committed in combating crimes against women and protecting the rights and safety of foreign nationals in India," Sharma argued. 

"This landmark ruling by the Supreme Court not only brings justice to the victim but also sends a strong global message about India's stance on women's safety and its zero tolerance policy towards violence against women. The SC verdict reinforces the notion that the Indian judicial system, supported by diligent representation and government backing, is dedicated to upholding justice, especially in cases that attract international attention and concern," Sharma told The New Indian Express

Claiming innocence in the case, Mohanty's lawyer Narender Hooda argued before the court that his client was innocent in the case and had been framed. "No rape took place at all, as it was consensual," Hooda said.

When Mohanty was serving his seven-year jail sentence, given by the lower court, he was given parole for 15 days based on his mother's illness on November 20, 2006. As per the parole order, he had to go back to jail on December 4, 2006, but he escaped. 

Mohanty was again arrested on October 16, 2014. The lower court had also sentenced him to three months imprisonment in connection with his absconding during his parole period. The court had asked him to serve a three-month sentence after completing his sentence in the rape case.

Mohanty again challenged this order in the High Court and said that both sentences should be run together, but the court rejected his petition in 2017.

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