Bombay high court has rejected a plea for pre-arrest bail filed by a senior employee of a Mumbaibased private company who is accused of sexually harassing a female colleague. Justice Nijamoodin Jamadar dismissed the application filed by accused Prakash Salve and agreed with the prosecution that his custodial interrogation was necessary.

Justice Jamadar observed there was material to prima facie support the woman’s complaint. “There are specific allegations of demand of sexual favours by the accused and threats in the event his demands were not met. A continuous course of sexual harassment at the workplace over a period of time is attributed to the applicant. There is contemporaneous material which, prima facie, lends support to the case against him,” said the judge.

Salve’s lawyers claimed he had been falsely implicated in the case as the company had initiated a departmental inquiry against the complainant in October 2018.

Additional public prosecutor Arfan Sait submitted an affidavit by Vijay Kadam, inspector of Dadar police station, where the FIR was registered. The affidavit pointed out the woman had first approached the assistant commissioner in September 2018, and the FIR was registered in March 2019, after the complainant filed a petition in HC alleging police inaction. The departmental inquiry was initiated to blunt the allegations levelled by the complainant, added the affidavit.

The woman employee has alleged Salve, the officer in-charge, had been making explicit sexual overtures against her since 2016. In August 2018, he threatened to fire her if she did not succumb to his demands.