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Judiciary

SC dismisses Union govt's plea against bail to Maoist financer in case of attack on police party in Jharkhand [Read Judgment]

By Jhanak Singh      13 May, 2024 11:33 AM      0 Comments
SC dismisses Union govt plea against bail to Maoist financer in case of attack on police party in Jharkhand

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday said an accused cannot be detained under the guise of punishing him by presuming the guilt as it dismissed a plea by the Union government against bail granted to an alleged Maoist financer and sympathiser.

A bench of Justices P S Narasimha and Aravind Kumar declined to interfere with the Jharkhand High Court's order of January 30, 2023, enlarging accused Mrityunjay Kumar Singh on bail in a case related to an attack on a patrol party in 2019 leading to death of four police personnel.

Additional Solicitor General K M Nataraj, appearing for the Union government, contended the respondent was an active supporter and sympathiser of the proscribed terrorist organisation.

He said being a partner of a construction company, the respondent-accused has been in conspiracy with the cadres of CPI (Maoist) and he has been supporting them not only by giving financial aid but also by managing the terrorist fund through showing dubious entries and investments in his accounts of his company. An unaccounted cash to the tune of Rs 2.64 crores was recovered from his house, the law officer claimed.

Nataraj also said a complaint was filed for threatening and pressurising the witnesses including the complainant. He also said three other cases were pending against the accused.

The court, however, said the broad probability of accused being involved in the committing of the offence alleged will have to be seen in such matters.

The bench also pointed out considerations for grant of bail and cancellation of bails are different and if conditions of bail is flouted or the accused had misused the liberty granted or bail was granted in ignorance of statutory provisions or bail was obtained by playing fraud then bail granted to the accused can be cancelled.

In its judgment, the bench said, "In the absence of their being a strong prima facie case on the conditions of the bail having been violated, it would not be appropriate for the said order being reversed or set aside after a lapse of 15 months."

The court agreed with a submission by senior advocate Sidharth Luthra, appearing for the respondent-accused that the High Court order was passed way back on January 30, 2023 with conditions having been stipulated therein.

"It is not the case of the prosecution that any of the condition so stipulated has been violated or there has been infraction of any of the condition so imposed" the bench noted.

Luthra, on his part, said the accused had already been granted bail in all the three cases, including anticipatory bail in one case.

In fact, the court noted, the apprehension of the Union government that the accused is likely to pose threat to the witnesses and there was a threat posed to the complainant would not be a ground to set aside the order.

The court also pointed out in the case referred against the accused for the said offence of threatening witnesses, he has also been granted bail.

"That apart we are of the considered view that there are no other overwhelming material on record to set aside the order granting bail which outweighs the liberty granted by the High Court under the order," the bench said.

The court held the interference was not warranted in the case.

However, to allay the apprehension, the court said the prosecution can seek for cancellation of the bail in the event any of the conditions being violated by the accused.

The FIR in the case was lodged against 18 named and a few unnamed persons in the case related to indiscriminate firing on a police patrol party on November 22, 2019. The NIA filed the charge sheet against 34 reasons including the respondent for various offences including under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and the Arms Act.
 

[Read Judgment]



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