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    Posted on 10 January 2012
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    Former diplomat Madhuri Gupta gets bail after 21 months

    Court takes into account provisions for bail to women under CrPC; trial to begin on 22 March

    Tehelka.com Bureau
    New Delhi

    Former diplomat Madhuri Gupta


    A lower court in Delhi, on Tuesday, granted bail to 53-year-old former diplomat Madhuri Gupta in the case of allegedly spying for Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

    The court had earlier framed charges against Gupta under Sections 3 and 5 of the Officials Secrets Act and Section 120B of the Indian Penal Code. The maximum punishment under these sections is three years in jail. The court had, on 7 January, fixed 22 March as the date of the trial.

    Gupta was arrested on 22 April, 2010. In the charge sheet, filed by the Delhi Police Special Cell in July 2011, Gupta was accused of passing on sensitive information to the ISI. She was posted as a Second Secretary at the Press and Information Cell of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad when she allegedly received a bribe of Rs 1 lakh for leaking information to the ISI.

    Gupta pleaded before the court that she should be granted bail since she had already spent almost 21 months in jail. While the charges, if proved, would invite a punishment of just three years, which is more than half of the maximum jail term she would have to serve if found guilty. Gupta also argued that the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) too provided for leniency in grant of bail to women.

    Additional Sessions Judge Pawan Kumar Jain, while granting the bail, restrained Gupta from leaving Delhi without the court’s permission, and also warned her against trying to contact any prosecution witness. She has been released on submitting a surety of Rs 25,000 and a personal bond of the same amount.

    The police claim that Gupta had passed on the information to ISI agents by using email services on her phone. This was revealed after the police seized the SIM cards she had bought in Pakistan. The police had also seized five computers from her office and residence in Islamabad.

    As per Section 437(1) of the CrPC, in case of offences not punishable with death, imprisonment for life or imprisonment for seven years or more, or in cases where a person has not been previously convicted on two or more occasions of a non-bailable and cognisable offence, bail can be provided to the accused below the age of 16 if the accused is a woman, or on health grounds.

    The charge sheet also mentions Gupta’s alleged affair with her Pakistani handler Jamshed aka Jim. She used to communicate with him regularly and had reportedly planned to marry him. “The contents of an email showed that she was in love with Jim (Jamshed). Both had planned to get married. It is further very clear from the content that Jim is a Pakistani. The motive is clear and established from the email,” the charge sheet says.

    In the charge sheet and annexure filed against Gupta, which run to more than 700 pages, the police cite statements of 30 witnesses to prove the charges against Gupta.

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    Posted on 10 January 2012
 

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