Delhi HC questions Honeypreet for filing anticipatory bail in Delhi

Priyanka Taneja alias Honeypreet, the adopted daughter of the jailed Dera chief, tops the list of 43 persons wanted by the Haryana Police.

New Delhi: Delhi High Court, on Tuesday, questioned Honeypreet Insan, facing charges of sedition and inciting violence after the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Ram Rahim in twin rape cases, for filing an anticipatory bail before it even though she was a permanent resident of Haryana.

The court asked the counsel for Honeypreet, who claims to be the adopted daughter of the jailed Dera Sacha Sauda chief, to show any document that a property in Delhi belonged to her or anyone connected to her.

"The easiest way out is that you surrender," Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal said, while asking why the 36-year-old woman was seeking transit anticipatory bail for three weeks.

Priyanka Taneja alias Honeypreet, the adopted daughter of the jailed Dera chief, tops the list of 43 persons wanted by the Haryana Police in connection with incidents of violence that had followed Ram Rahim's conviction in the rape cases.

Ram Rahim was convicted by the special CBI court in Panchkula on August 25, following which violence and arson had erupted in Panchkula and Sirsa districts of Haryana which had claimed 41 lives and left several others injured.

The court asked Honeypreet's counsel to satisfy it as to how its territorial jurisdiction can be invoked and said it would take care of her rights only after that.

"First you come on jurisdiction. Why has the plea been moved here... You surrender in Delhi and we will take care," the judge said.

Transit anticipatory bail application is meant to seek protection against arrest during her transit from Delhi to Haryana for joining probe in the sedition case.

The court, which reserved its order on the bail plea, is likely to pronounce it later today.

Honeypreet's advocate sought the relief saying she was a lady, who was not running away and was ready to join the probe if protected by this court.

"It is to humiliate me. I am not required for custodial interrogation. If I am given protection from here, I will move to Panchkula court or the Punjab and Haryana High Court for anticipatory bail. I am not even named in the FIR. What kind of sedition charges can be there against me," advocate Pradeep Kumar Arya, who represented Honeypreet, said.

He said Honeypreet was apprehending arrest in Delhi and the police had raided her house here this morning.

The plea was vehemently opposed by the counsel for Delhi and Haryana Police who said it was "a ploy to do 'forum shopping'" and, by giving a wrong address of a Delhi property, she was "hoodwinking" the court.

Delhi Police standing counsel Rahul Mehra said Honeypreet was considered to be the closest person to the Dera chief and there should have been some restraint and calls made to ensure peace and prevent the incidents of the large-scale violence that had occured.

Regarding the claim of Honeypreet's counsel that she was facing threat to her life as the atmosphere in Haryana was not good, Mehra said if she was a law-abiding citizen, she should surrender and Delhi Police, which is considered the best in India, will ensure that no harm is caused to her.

Additional Advocate General of Haryana Anil Grover said jurisdiction of Delhi was made out only if a person resided here permanently.

While Honeypreet's passport showed her address to be of Sirsa in Haryana, the place where a person is roaming around cannot decide jurisdiction for filing the bail plea, he said.

"Forum shopping is the exact name for such petitions. Where was she all this while, and where she is now is anybody's guess. She is not coming clean before this court," Grover said.

During the hearing, the court also said when Honeypreet can move an application for anticipatory bail before the Delhi High Court, she can do so even before the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

"She has not appeared here and she will also not appear before the Punjab and Haryana High Court in anticipatory bail hearing. Atmosphere may not be good for her in Haryana but it is fine for you as a lawyer," the judge told her counsel.

Honeypreet has been on the run since the conviction of Ram Rahim in two rape cases. She is facing a case of sedition for allegedly inciting violence in Haryana after the Dera chief's conviction.

The CBI court on August 28 had sentenced Ram Rahim to 20 years in prison for raping two of his disciples in 2002.

Honeypreet had accompanied the Dera head when he had come to the special CBI court on August 25. She had also travelled along with him in the special chopper which ferried them to Rohtak from Panchkula after the conviction.

The controversial sect head is currently lodged in Sunaria jail in Rohtak district of Haryana.

Several teams of Haryana Police have in the recent weeks travelled across the country, including the Indo-Nepal border, to trace Honeypreet.

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