MUMBAI, Jul 3 (PTI): Incarcerated actor Shiney Ahuja, held on charges of raping his domestic help, on Friday pleaded for bail before a local court saying he was
victim of a "well-hatched conspiracy" to malign and extort money from him.
The 36-year-old actor denied he had raped the 20-year-old domestic help, claiming the act was "consensual".
However, Police opposed his release and the sessions court deferred hearing of the bail plea till July 7.
The actor did not come to the court but his counsel Srikant Shivade sought time to reply to prosecution's arguments opposing Ahuja's bail.
Ahuja was arrested on June 15 after his maid accused him of raping her while they were alone at his residence in suburban Oshiwara the previous day.
Prosecutor R V Kini argued that granting bail to Ahuja at this stage might hamper probe as he was influential and might tamper with witnesses or even intimidate the victim, though her statement had been recorded by a magistrate.
He said police had a strong case against the actor on the basis of DNA and medical reports. Until the chargesheet is filed, the actor should not be released on bail, Kini submitted.
"It is a well-hatched conspiracy to malign my image and extort money from me. The victim's story of alleged rape is highly suspicious and doubtful as no external injuries were found on her person," Ahuja said in bail petition.
About nail marks found on his person, the actor said "mere presence of injury cannot convert such a sexual act into rape. Such injury is possible during sex".
Ahuja said in the bail petition that he was an upcoming actor and movies in which he was cast were held up because he was in jail. "This was causing hardship to producers, directors and co-actors".
The actor pleaded that his career was at stake. He came from a reputed family and his father was a colonel in army while mother was a teacher.
The actor's wife Anupam had denied the rape charge against him, saying her husband was innocent and was being "framed".
However, Police said DNA and medical reports of the victim and Ahuja had corroborated allegations made by the maid in FIR.
Ahuja's judicial custody has been extended till July 16. He is currently lodged in the Central Prison at Arthur Road in Central Mumbai.
The actor has been examined by a jail doctor after he told a court on Thursday that he was not keeping well. Jail sources said he is much better now and that may be feeling a little depressed.
Chief minister Ashok Chavan had said recently that the case would be committed to a fast track court soon to ensure prompt justice and promised that the victim would be rehabilitated.
Opposing the actor's bail, the police said that his family is respectable and reputed but it "does not reflect on Ahuja's loose character".
"The accused (Ahuja) has great talent but that does not make him a respectable person. If he is released on bail then it would have a huge impact on the society and the women at large, as the offence committed by him is grave and heinous," the reply filed by the police said.
It further said the actor's argument that the victim is trying to malign his image and extort money from him is "false" as the domestic help did not wait to lodge the police complaint.
"The victim approached the police immediately and lodged her complaint against the actor," Public Prosecutor R V Kini said.
The government has decided to send the case to a fast- track court and thus there would not be any delay in conclusion of the trial, he said.