Court refuses police custody of man arrested for urinating on co-passenger on AI flight

Air India (Representational Image), Shankar Mishra | Photo: PTI, Twitter/Sai Ram B

New Delhi: A Delhi court on Saturday sent Shankar Mishra, accused of urinating on a woman co-passenger on an Air India flight, to judicial remand for 14 days while rejecting a plea by police for his custody.

"Just because there's public pressure, don't do this. Go by the law,” Metropolitan Magistrate Anamika said after the police sought Mishra's remand for three days for custodial interrogation on the grounds that he was required to be identified by three cabin crew members, two captains and other co-passengers, who were also to be examined.

The court passed the order to send Mishra to judicial remand, noting that his custody was not needed for recording the statements of other witnesses and they can be quizzed in his absence.

Meanwhile, it posted for January 11 the consideration of the bail application of the accused.

“Considering all the reasons stated above... PC is not required for recording the statement of witnesses. They can be interrogated in his absence. Statements can be recorded, and there is no requirement of his PC,” the court said.

It noted that on the basis of the evidence, the accused prima facie did not cooperate in the investigation.

“Perusal of records shows that the accused was deliberately avoiding joining of investigation. In order to make further investigation, recording of statements of crew members, recording statements, his custody is not required,” the magistrate said.

During the arguments, the court asked the police why it required his custody.

“He is not required for others' questioning, TIP (Test Identification Parade). Everything is known. Why his custody is required? Nobody else is to be arrested. There is no ground for PC,” the court said.

On the court's query whether the police were expecting any co-accused in the case, the agency submitted that the cabin crew did not handle the situation and that they were also “complicit in the alleged offence”.

Custodial interrogation is required for his identification by three cabin crews, two captains, and other co-passengers, who are also to be examined, police told the court.

Advocate Manu Sharma, appearing for the accused, opposed the police plea, saying, “A lot of noise has been made. Even if the incident is taken as true, all the offences my client is accused of are bailable.”

The police, meanwhile, refused to hand over a copy of the FIR to an advocate appearing for the complainant, saying the "case has been so viral, we do not want to give a copy of the complaint to anyone but the complainant".

After the judge passed the order, the counsel for the accused sought bail, contending that since he was not required for interrogation, there was no need to keep him in custody.

The metropolitan magistrate said the bail application will be considered on January 11.

Bengaluru police had assisted Delhi police in arresting Shankar Mishra from Sanjay Nagar area in the city. Mishra allegedly urinated on the woman, a senior citizen, in an inebriated condition in the business class of the Air India flight from New York to Delhi on November 26 last year. The Delhi Police registered an FIR against him on January 4 on a complaint given by the woman to Air India.


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