NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has directed the release of an ex-NSG official convicted for commission of an offence under the POCSO Act, noting that in view of the workload and pendency of the old appeals before it, the appeal in the present case is unlikely to be heard before the convict’s five-year jail term comes to an end.
Justice Talwant Singh suspended the sentence of the appellant on a personal bond of Rs 25,000 and directed him not to contact or visit any of the victims or commit any other offence during the period of suspension.
The appellant, who was convicted for committing aggravated sexual assault on three minor girls and misusing his position, sought his release during the pendency of his appeal against the conviction on the ground that he has already spent over four years out of the five-year sentence in jail.
“The appellant stands dismissed from service, so there is no question of him visiting the NSG Campus or causing trauma to the victims, who may or may not residing on the same campus now. It is also not in dispute that looking at the workload and pendency of the old appeals in this court, the present appeal is not likely to be heard before July 2022, when five years of a sentence of the appellant/applicant shall be completed. In view of the above facts, circumstances, and the prevailing legal regime, I am inclined to allow suspension of the sentence of the present applicant/appellant,” said the court in its recent order.
The court also noted that the appellant was not a previous convict, his behaviour in jail was satisfactory and there were no complaints when he was granted paroles eight times between 2019 and 2021.
The appellant was convicted under the National Security Guard Act, 1986 and Section 10 of The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act) and sentenced to undergo imprisonment for a term of five years and was also dismissed from service by the General Security Guard Court in 2016.
The order was upheld by the Director-General, National Security Guard (NSG), and then by the Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs.
The appellant’s plea was opposed by the Centre on the ground that the offence in question was grave and committed against multiple victims of minor age and that the appellant misused his position as an NSG official and tainted the image of a prestigious security organization.