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Bombay HC dismisses pre-arrest bail plea of lawyer in murder of ex-corporator

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday rejected the anticipatory bail plea of a 53-year-old woman lawyer booked for allegedly abetting the suicide of former Shiv Sena (UBT) corporator Sudhir More. After perusing chats and phone call recordings between advocate Nilima Chavan and More, the court noted that “there was something that needed to be investigated”.

More (62), a former corporator of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), allegedly died by suicide near the Ghatkopar railway station on August 31 night. Based on a complaint filed by Sudhir’s son, an FIR was registered against Chavan under Indian Penal Code Section 306 (abetment of suicide) at the Kurla police station.

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A single-judge bench of Justice N J Jamadar was hearing a plea by Chavan — lawyer and member of the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights — who was booked by the Kurla police for abetting suicide. Chavan moved the high court through advocate Subir Sarkar after the sessions court rejected her pre-arrest bail plea on September 6. The sessions court had observed that “prima facie”, there was sufficient material against the accused.

Chavan told the court that she and Sudhir had known each other since childhood, and while she got divorced in 2008, Sudhir lost his wife in 2000. The duo started talking in 2019 and met on several occasions. Chavan claimed that there was no material to show that she had, in any manner, caused harassment or mental agony to the deceased, and she was ready to cooperate with the probe. She claimed that custodial interrogation was not required, and her arrest would cause hardship to her family and affect her career.

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Police told the high court that Sudhir and the accused made 56 calls, including WhatsApp and video calls, to each other on the day of the suicide, and it was established that the accused was blackmailing him that she would die by suicide if he did not talk to her. The prosecution claimed the two had been arguing over the past few days, and More spoke to Chavan for two hours before he died. Police said Chavan was interested in contesting the BMC elections and was demanding a ticket from More, which caused the dispute between the two.

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© The Indian Express (P) Ltd

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