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ISLAMABAD: The capital police on Monday arrested Soumya Asim, the wife of a civil judge, after the court dismissed her bail plea in a case related to the alleged torture of an underage domestic worker, Rizwana in the capital.

Additional Sessions Judge Farrukh Fareed Baloch, while hearing the case, rejected the bail application of Soumya, wife of Civil Judge Asim Hafeez, who allegedly tortured, Rizwana, working with her as a housemaid. The court directed the police to arrest her.

The judge’s wife appeared before the court along with her counsel Nazar Niazi, after the expiry of the pre-arrest bail. The victim’s lawyer Rana Adil Imdad also appeared before the court.

At the start of the hearing, the judge asked the prosecution, where is the record of the case against the judge’s wife? To this, the police submitted the case record before the court. The judge also called the accused to the rostrum.

Naizi, the counsel of the accused told the court at the start of the hearing that his client appeared before the joint investigation team (JIT) and expressed her innocence. Police have mentioned the record that the accused have not tortured the victim, he said, adding that his client urged Rizwana, again and again, to go to her home. The accused had handed over Rizwana to her mother in a healthy condition.

The lawyer said “the victim’s mother had been summoned by the JIT later today.” He requested the court to wait till the evening when the JIT investigation is completed.

The investigation office (IO) has not investigated the case from all angles, Imdad said, asking that had the police obtained the video of the crime scene.

Imdad said on which grounds, the accused is seeking an extension in her bail. Should a woman commit any crime and be granted bail? If women continue to get such bails, society will end, he said, adding that an allegation was leveled that the girl’s mother blackmailed the suspect. Why did they blackmail? he asked.

He said that the fact is that the victim’s parents have been contacted and they offered money. “The defence lawyer never challenged the medical report of the victim,” he said, adding that as per law it is a crime to keep a teenage child as a maid.

The prosecutor requested the court to reject the bail of the accused to conduct further investigation on her and recover the object with which the accused beat the victim.

The judge said that so far, the defence has not produced any concrete arguments which should be considered sufficient for an extension of the accused’s bail. The defence counsel said that the first lines of the case were based on lies. To this, the judge remarked that he is not sitting for trial, submit your arguments on the suspect’s bail plea.

Imdad said that his client should only be sent to jail once the JIT declared her guilty. The judge said that it was not possible to adjourn the case till JIT concluded its probe and asked the counsel to continue his arguments on the bail application.

The lawyer claimed before the court that a three-hour clip of the victim at a bus stop was available. He also expressed fears that the data memory of the camera which contained the said video would run out in a day. The court directed IO to obtain the video. It was the responsibility of the IO to collect evidence from both sides, the judge said.

During the hearing, the video of Rizwana at the bus stop was played in the courtroom on a laptop .According to the video, both the victim and accused can be seen at the bus stop, he said, adding that as per the video the victim was getting out of the vehicle herself and she can be seen safely sitting at the bus stop for two hours. The defense counsel said, it was alleged that Rizwana was found severely injured at Soumya’s residence.

He also highlighted that the victim’s medical report was dated July 24, whereas, the case was registered on July 25.

The lawyer said that his client had three witnesses who could testify that they had seen Rizwana in good health at her residence. “This entire drama against his client was made in Sargodha where the victim hails from,” he said.

The Prosecutor, Waqas Haral, said the victim had sustained 14 injuries as per her medical report. As he gave details of the teenager’s injuries in court, the mother of the victim broke down into tears. “If Soumya Asim was being blackmailed by the girl’s parents why didn’t she file a police complaint?” the prosecutor asked.

The judge told the IO to conduct the investigation on merit and not to take pressure. The court rejected the accused’s bail plea and directed the police to arrest her.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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