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Sex scandal: 9 get bail
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 22
Mr Justice Rajive Bhalla of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today granted regular bail to nine accused in the infamous Jammu and Kashmir sex scandal.

These include former J&K minister Raman Mattoo, BSF DIG K.G. Padhi and former J&K Additional Advocate General Anil Sethi.

All these nine accused are among the 13 accused in the case pertaining to alleged rape of a minor girl in Kashmir. The CBI is investigating the matter.

On October 9, Mr B.S. Mehandiratta, District and Sessions Judge (DSJ), Chandigarh, had turned down the pleas for the grant of bail to these accused, who are currently lodged in the Burail Model Jail here. The hearing of the case was transferred from J&K to Chandigarh on the pleas of some of the accused after they pointed out that they were not getting any legal support.

Others who have been released on bail are Mohammed Yusuf Mir, Reyaz Ahmed Kawa, Ghulam Ahmed Mir, Mehraj-u-din Malik, J&K police DSP Mohammed Ashraf Mir and Shabir Ahmed Laway.

During the arguments on the bail pleas, which were held on a daily basis, the CBI counsel had strongly opposed the grant of bail, pleading that if released, the influential accused might tamper with the evidence and try to wean away the witnesses.

Also, while the counsel for the accused had claimed that the victim was an adult, the CBI counsel had submitted a certificate from a Srinagar school and statements of victimís parents as evidence to prove that she was a minor.

Countering the claim of some of the accused that they had no knowledge of the age of the girl at the time of the incident, the CBI counsel referred to a judgment of the Supreme Court which held that the knowledge whether or not the victim was minor was irrelevant because the mere fact of having sex with a minor would expose the accused to the offence of rape.

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