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The Connaughts ex-promoter gets bail in murder case of NDMC officer for Rs. 140 cr license fee demand [Read Judgment]

By Shreya Agarwal      04 January, 2024 07:16 PM      0 Comments

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has granted bail to the former promoter of The Connaught hotel, Ramesh Kakkar, in a case of criminal conspiracy for murder of New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) officer Mohd Moin Khan.

Khan was allegedly murdered by hired men for a demand of 140 crore from Kakkar against license fee owed to the civic body.

Granting bail to Kakkar, a single-judge bench of Justice Vikas Mahajan held, It is well settled that at the pre-conviction stage, there is a presumption of innocence. The object of keeping a person in custody is to ensure his availability to face the trial and to receive the sentence that may be awarded to him.

The Court rejected the prosecutions contention that Kakkar can win over witnesses stating that Kakkar had been enlarged on interim bail a number of times but the said concession has not been misused by the petitioner.

It also relied on the fact that all public witnesses have already been examined and proceeded to suggest imposition of appropriate conditions while enlarging Kakkar on bail to address concerns of witness influencing.

While the prosecutions case was that Kakkar had conspired to and got the officer murdered as Khan was to pronounce an order against Kakkar (then promoter of The Connaught), the Court has rejected this attribution.

For doing so it relied on the testimony of R. Venkatesh which revealed that the Prominent Hotels Ltd. (the company running the Connaught Hotel at the relevant time of which the petitioner was a Director) itself had given a No Objection for appointing Khan as the Estate Officer in Kakkars case.

Further, the Court also relied on the evidence of another prosecution witness, that the window pane of the car (in which Khan was shot), was broken.

This would necessarily imply that the window panes of the car, in which the deceased was shot, were closed at the time of the incident. In such a situation whether the deceased could hear the utterance of the assailant that saale tujhe Connaught Hotel ke malik Kakkar ke paise toh pasand nahi aaye, ab goli pasand aayegi is also shrouded in doubt, the bench concluded.

Reasoning as such, the Court proceeded to grant regular bail to Kakkar, subject to his furnishing a personal bond in the sum of Rs. 50,000/- with two sureties of like amount, one of which should be of the family member, subject to the satisfaction of the Trial Court/Duty Magistrate/Chief Metropolitan Magistrate.

A 4-star hotel in the heart of the capital, The Connaught was bought by the Indian Hotels Co Ltd (IHCL), which runs the Taj chain of hotels in June of 2016, after IHCL won a 33-year lease contract with the NDMC, the-then owner of the property.

NDMC had sealed the hotel in May 2016, after investigations into the controversial murder of Estate Officer/ Assistant Law Officer Mohd. Moin Khan had implicated Ramesh Kakkar, the-then promoter of the hotel in the case.

Cause Title: Ramesh Kakkar v State of NCT of Delhi

 

[Read Judgment]



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