A senior lawyer practicing in the Bombay High Court was arrested on Friday after a 34-year-old woman lawyer alleged he had raped her on four occasions and tried to intimidate her into not revealing the alleged crime.
Advocate Diwakar Singh, 50, was called to MIDC police station for questioning upon his return from a work-related trip to Chennai and later arrested, officers investigating the case said.
According to the victim’s complaint, Singh had taken advantage of his position as senior advocate and asked her to accompany him on official trips to Delhi, Chennai and Pune. She alleged that during these tours, he asked her for sexual favours. When she refused, he raped her.
According to the victim’s statement recorded by MIDC police on Thursday, it all started a few months after she started practicing in July 2013. She has cited four instances of rape, twice in Delhi and once each in Chennai and Pune.
“When she approached us, Singh was still in Chennai. We called him to the police station soon after he returned and arrested him. He has been booked under IPC sections 376C for rape by a person in a position of authority, 354 for outraging a woman’s modesty and 506(ii) for criminal intimidation. He faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment under these charges,” a police officer said.
“Singh was produced in the same Andheri Metropolitan Magistrate Court where he began his practice and sent to police custody till Monday” Senior PI Rajaram Mandge with MIDC police station said.
Singh has appeared in several cases as adefence lawyer including the Public Interest Litigation filed against Skoda dealer Autobahn Enterprises, which alleged that the auto dealer had registered 725 vehicles in 2011-12 and 2012-13 with Thane RTO using bogus documents given by car owners. The documents had showed them to be Thane residents, though they were actually residents of Mumbai.
Lawyers close to Singh said the police didn’t give him a chance to approach the Sessions Court for anticipatory bail. “When they called him to the police station, he thought it was in connection with his client’s case. However, soon after he reached he was arrested,” said a colleague. Others said Singh kept most of his life a secret, which is why people who had worked with him didn’t know when he had started practicing law.