Mumbai airport harassment case: Woman's tormentor gets bail

Sessions court grants bail to Lalsingh Bhandari, senior security manager at the international airport, on Friday; complainant, her lawyer accuse cops of holding back relevant papers, including key witness’ statement

Just two days after mid-day published a report on the alleged harassment of the key witness at the hands of colleagues and superiors to retract his statement, it has been learnt that the accused, Senior Security Manager Lalsingh Bhandari, was granted anticipatory bail on Friday by the Sessions court.

Lalsingh Bhandari
Lalsingh Bhandari

The bail was granted after the Sahar police refrained from submitting papers pertaining to the case and the key witness’ statement, accusing Bhandari of mentally and sexually harassing his junior security officer. An FIR against Singh was lodged under sections 354 and 509 of the IPC on June 18.

Expressing disbelief, the complainant said, “Thrice I met police commissioner Rakesh Maria personally, who asked me to meet DCP Virendra Mishra. Accordingly, I met Mishra four times. I even met Jt CP (Law and Order) Deven Bharti. But despite my efforts, the accused wasn’t arrested.

Eventually, he secured anticipatory bail from the court. I ran from pillar to post, and met all authorities concerned, but none helped me. While Maria ordered the DCP to take action, the latter never showed any interest in following his orders. I’ve received instructions from my office asking me not to speak to the media, or face consequences.

The accused benefited, as the police kept passing the buck. If he (accused) is discharged from the case, my office is surely going to blame me for filing a false case.” Seconding the complainant’s allegation against the police of doing a shoddy job, Public Prosecutor Anjali Waghmare said, “Investiga-ting officer Mandakani Narote did not submit relevant documents on time, which helped the accused secure bail.

The complaint of the witness that even he is being targeted was not submitted. Even I wasn’t kept in the loop about the developments in the case. I have now suggested to the victim to write a letter to the cops to change the investigating officer.”

Cop speak
Speaking to mid-day, Senior Police Inspector Prashant Marde from Sahar police station said, “We did our job and proper steps were taken. These allegations are false.” Despite repeated attempts, Mumbai police spokesperson Dhananjay Kulkarni refused to comment.

The case

>> A 32-year-old security officer had filed an FIR against Lalsingh Bhandari (38), senior security manager of MIAL-GVK, at the Sahar police station on June 18. In her complaint, she accused Bhandari of subjecting her to mental and sexual harassment for over a year.

>> The woman even claimed that before filing an FIR against Bhandari, she was transferred to another department without prior notice or justification. However, she was reinstated to the earlier department on July 1 after a mid-day report about the incident on June 30.

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