The Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday dismissed the anticipatory bail plea of former station house officer (SHO) Ravi Kant Sharma, an accused in an alleged case of extortion and stalking of a woman employee of a beauty salon in Panchkula, in November, 2019.

Although a detailed order is awaited, the high court bench of justice Jaishree Thakur passed the order after the police argued that they needed his custodial interrogation in view of incriminating evidence against him. Kant had approached the HC on January 23, and the court while issuing a notice to state police, had given him interim protection from arrest until Monday.

It was on December 10 that the Panchkula police registered an FIR against the SHO and a home guard volunteer Jashan Pal for allegedly extorting money from the salon, as well as stalking and manhandling a woman manager. The complainant, who is the owner of a beauty lounge and salon in Sector 5, MDC, had alleged that the home guard volunteer, Jashan Pal, at the behest of the SHO inspector Ravi Kant Sharma, had extorted money and stalked, harassed and manhandled a woman manager at his salon.

Appearing for the police, additional advocate general, Deepak Sabharwal, had told the court that 121 calls were exchanged between Sharma and the guard between September 3, 2019 to 10 December, 2019, even as they had no business to be in touch. “Prime facie there are strong evidence against the SHO. So, his custodial interrogation is needed,” the court was told.

On January 23, the SHO had told court that the guard had not made a call on his official cellphone on the day of the alleged incident on November 18, the day the guard had allegedly gone to collect the money. He had also claimed that the woman had retracted her statement. The SHO had also stated he would surrender his official cellphone to the investigating officer.

Sabharwal, on the other hand, had told court that on November 18, when the incident was reported, that the guard had called the SHO from his personal number. The court was also informed that an audio has emerged in which the duo are talking about the alleged bribe to be given by the salon. The woman manager had refuted her employer’s claims before a magistrate as she was pressurised into not supporting the owner’s complaint, for which the police have gathered evidence, the court was told.

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