Justice Mukta Gupta on Thursday, while pronouncing the order in Hiremath’s bail plea, said, “I have disposed of the application, granted anticipatory bail but I am not uploading the order on the website because I have noted the statement under Section 164 CrPC”.

The Delhi High Court on Thursday granted anticipatory bail to Mumbai-based journalist Varun Hiremath in the rape case registered against him by Delhi Police in February. Hiremath was granted interim protection from arrest by the court on April 9 and later joined the investigation.

Justice Mukta Gupta on Thursday, while pronouncing the order in Hiremath’s bail plea, said, “I have disposed of the application, granted anticipatory bail but I am not uploading the order on the website because I have noted the statement under Section 164 CrPC”.

The court had earlier held an in camera hearing in the case and reserved the order on April 19.

Hiremath, an anchor with ET Now, had been on the run since February 23 when the FIR was registered against him under IPC sections 376 (punishment for offence of rape), 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement) and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult modesty of a woman) at Chanakyapuri police station. His application for anticipatory bail was dismissed by the lower court on March 12 and a non-bailable warrant was also issued against him earlier this month. After the High Court granted him protection from arrest subject to his joining investigation, he came out of hiding and appeared before the police.

The woman, in her complaint and statement before the magistrate, has alleged that she was raped by Hiremath at a five-star hotel in Chanakyapuri on February 20. However, Hiremath has argued that he has been falsely implicated in the case and whatever took place between him and the woman was consensual.

The lower court, while declining the pre-arrest bail to Hiremath, had observed that “from her previous experiences with the accused, the consent cannot be implied” as Section 53A of Indian Evidence Act specifically states that “previous sexual experiences with any person shall not be relevant on the issue of such consent or the quality of such consent”.

The FIR states that the woman and Hiremath, who were friends since 2017, met at a cafe in Khan Market, from where the accused asked her to come to his hotel room, where multiple incidents of rape, violence and sexual assault allegedly took place.

Meanwhile, the woman has approached the High Court for transfer of probe in the case to CBI. In her petition seeking CBI probe, the woman has highlighted eight incidents of lapse and mismanagement allegedly committed by Delhi Police in the case. The allegations mainly pertain to the investigating agency’s failure to arrest him and evidence collection in the case.

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