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Bail petition in offences under sections 120B read with Sections 302, 364, 365, 368, 193, 197, 342, 420, 384, 201 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (in short ‘the IPC’) and Sections 25(1B)(a) and 27 of the Arms Act, 1959 and he was arrested on 24.04.2007 and since then is in custody. – High court dismissed the bail applications – Apex court granted conditional bail on the grounds that even after 7 years trial not completed , co accused were on bail =Sanghian Pandian Rajkumar …. Appellant(s) Versus Central Bureau of Investigation & Anr. …. Respondent(s)= 2014 (March . Part) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41351

Bail petition in offences under sections 120B  read  with  Sections 302, 364, 365, 368, 193, 197, 342, 420, 384, 201 and 34 of the Indian  Penal Code, 1860 (in short ‘the IPC’) and Sections 25(1B)(a) and 27  of  the  Arms Act, 1959 and he was arrested on 24.04.2007 and since then is in custody. – High court dismissed the bail applications – Apex court granted conditional bail on the grounds that even after 7 years trial not completed , co accused were on bail =

 

High Court of  Judicature  at  Bombay  in  Criminal

Bail Application Nos. 2002 and 1713 of 2012 respectively, whereby  the  High

Court dismissed the bail applications of both the appellants pending trial.=

 

The appellant – Sanghian Pandian Rajkumar  (Accused  No.  2),  an  IPS

Officer, is one of the accused persons in Special Case No.  5  of  2010  (RC

BS1/S/2010/0004-Mumbai dated  01.02.2010),  who  was  charge-sheeted,  inter

alia, for the offences punishable under  Section  120B  read  with  Sections

302, 364, 365, 368, 193, 197, 342, 420, 384, 201 and 34 of the Indian  Penal

Code, 1860 (in short ‘the IPC’) and Sections 25(1B)(a) and 27  of  the  Arms

Act, 1959 and he was arrested on 24.04.2007 and since then is in custody.

 

4)    The other appellant – Balkrishan Rajendraprasad Chaubey  (Accused  No.

6), who was working as a sub-Inspector  of  Police  in  the  Anti  Terrorist

Squad (ATS), Ahmedabad, at the relevant time, is also  one  of  the  accused

persons in the same case arising  out  of  R.C.  No.  BS1/S/2010/0004  dated

01.02.2010 registered with the CBI SCB, Mumbai and  was  charge-sheeted  for

the offences punishable under Section 120B read with Sections 365, 368,  302

and 201 of the IPC and he was arrested on 01.07.2007 and since  then  is  in

custody.=

 

  

 

22)   In the light of the details, allegations  in  the  charge-sheet  filed

before the court, many of the co-accused were  granted  bail  by  the  trial

court/High Court and this Court and of the fact  that  both  the  appellants

are in custody for nearly 7 years pending trial and  also  in  view  of  the

fact that it would not be possible for the special  Court  to  conclude  the

trial within a reasonable period as claimed by learned ASG, we  inclined  to

consider their claim for bail.

 

23)   In the light of the statement made by learned ASG, we direct that  all

the materials pertaining to these cases which  are  lying  in  the  original

Court at Gujarat as well as the records  relating  to  the  same  under  the

custody of the High Court of Gujarat, if any, be transferred to the  Special

Court, CBI, Mumbai within a period of one month from the date of receipt  of

copy of this order.  After  receipt  of  all  the  required  materials,  the

Special Court, CBI at Mumbai  have  to  get  the  relevant  documents  alone

translated within a period of three months thereafter.  The  Special  Court,

CBI at Mumbai is directed to take the assistance of the  Registrars  of  the

High Courts of Bombay and Gujarat for completion of the translation work  as

fixed.  By this order, we also direct  the  Registrars  of  the  Bombay  and

Gujarat High Courts to render all  assistance  to  the  Special  Judge,  CBI

Mumbai for  early  completion  of  the  translation  work  within  the  time

stipulated by this Court.   After  receipt  of  the  required  material  and

completion of translation work, we direct the  special  Judge  to  take  all

endeavor for early completion of the trial.

 

24)   In the light of what is stated above, we are satisfied that  both  the

appellants have made out a case for  bail  on  executing  a  bond  with  two

solvent sureties, each in a sum of Rs 1 lakh  to  the  satisfaction  of  the

Special Judge, CBI, Mumbai on the following conditions:

(i)   The appellants shall not directly or indirectly make  any  inducement,

      threat or promise to any person acquainted with the facts of the  case

      so as to dissuade him to disclose such facts to the court  or  to  any

      other authority.

(ii)  The appellants shall remain present before  the  court  on  the  dates

      fixed for hearing of the case,  for  any  reason  due  to  unavoidable

      circumstances for remaining absent they have to give intimation to the

      court and also to the officer concerned of the CBI and make  a  proper

      application for permission to be present through counsel.

(iii) The appellants  shall  surrender  their  passports,  if  any,  if  not

      already surrendered and if they are not holder of the same, that  fact

      should be supported by an affidavit.

(iv)  In case they have already surrendered the passport before the  Special

      Judge, CBI, that fact should be supported by an affidavit.

(v)   On such release, both of them (A-2 & A-6)  have to stay at Mumbai  and

      report at 11.00 a.m. on alternate  working  days  before  the  Special

      Judge, CBI Mumbai.

(vi)  Liberty is given to the CBI to make  an  appropriate  application  for

      modification/recalling  the  present  order  passed  by  us,  if   the

      appellants violate any of the conditions imposed by this Court.

25)   Under these circumstances, the appellants are ordered to  be  released

on bail subject to the conditions mentioned hereinabove to the  satisfaction

of the  court  concerned.   With  the  above  directions,  the  appeals  are

disposed of.

2014 (March . Part) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41351

P SATHASIVAM, RANJAN GOGOI, N.V. RAMANA

REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
1 CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 698 OF 2014

(Arising out of S.L.P. (Crl.) No. 10337 of 2013)

Sanghian Pandian Rajkumar …. Appellant(s)

Versus

Central Bureau of Investigation & Anr. …. Respondent(s)

WITH
2 CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 699 OF 2014

(Arising out of S.L.P. (Crl.) No. 10600 of 2013)

Balkrishan Rajendraprasad Chaubey …. Appellant(s)

Versus

Central Bureau of Investigation & Anr. …. Respondent(s)

 

 

J U D G M E N T
P.Sathasivam, CJI.

 

1) Leave granted in both the appeals.

2) These appeals are directed against the orders dated 20.11.2013 and
10.07.2013 passed by the High Court of Judicature at Bombay in Criminal
Bail Application Nos. 2002 and 1713 of 2012 respectively, whereby the High
Court dismissed the bail applications of both the appellants pending trial.

3) The appellant – Sanghian Pandian Rajkumar (Accused No. 2), an IPS
Officer, is one of the accused persons in Special Case No. 5 of 2010 (RC
BS1/S/2010/0004-Mumbai dated 01.02.2010), who was charge-sheeted, inter
alia, for the offences punishable under Section 120B read with Sections
302, 364, 365, 368, 193, 197, 342, 420, 384, 201 and 34 of the Indian Penal
Code, 1860 (in short ‘the IPC’) and Sections 25(1B)(a) and 27 of the Arms
Act, 1959 and he was arrested on 24.04.2007 and since then is in custody.

4) The other appellant – Balkrishan Rajendraprasad Chaubey (Accused No.
6), who was working as a sub-Inspector of Police in the Anti Terrorist
Squad (ATS), Ahmedabad, at the relevant time, is also one of the accused
persons in the same case arising out of R.C. No. BS1/S/2010/0004 dated
01.02.2010 registered with the CBI SCB, Mumbai and was charge-sheeted for
the offences punishable under Section 120B read with Sections 365, 368, 302
and 201 of the IPC and he was arrested on 01.07.2007 and since then is in
custody.

5) Inasmuch as we are concerned only with the grant of bail pending
trial, there is no need to analyse all the factual details except their
involvement in the commission of offence, as alleged by the prosecution.
In the cases on hand, as per the prosecution story, three murders were
allegedly committed inter alia by senior police officers like the
appellants – Sanghian Pandian Rajkumar (A-2) and Balkrishan Rajendraprasad
Chaubey (A-6), whose duty was otherwise to maintain law and order and to
prevent the commission of offence.

6) Heard Mr. U.U. Lalit, learned senior counsel, Mr. Sushil Karanjkar,
learned counsel for the appellants (A-2 and A-6) respectively and Ms.
Indira Jaising, learned Additional Solicitor General for the respondent-
CBI.

 

Submissions:

7) Mr. U.U. Lalit, learned senior counsel for the appellant, by taking
us through the allegations against A-2 in the charge-sheet filed in the
Special Court, submitted that there is no direct evidence linking the
present appellant with the commission of offence as alleged by the
prosecution and the investigation carried out by the CBI suffers from
serious infirmities. He further pointed out that the materials shown to
support the prosecution charges against the appellant (A-2) are
characterized with various defects such as lack of spontaneity, invaryness,
untrustworthiness, hear-say witnesses, inherently impossible or improbable
facts and humanly abnormal conducts apart from the infirmities in the
charges which are yet to be framed by the Court. He further pointed out
that A-2 is in judicial custody without trial for almost seven years and
continued incarceration will amount to violation of Article 21 of the
Constitution of India. He also pointed out that inasmuch as either the
High Court or this Court granted bail to similarly placed co-accused, the
present appellant is also to be released on the ground of parity. Finally,
he stressed on the fact that there are hundreds of witnesses to be examined
and voluminous documents exhibited in the charge-sheet, it would not be
possible to complete the trial in the near future.

8) Though Mr. Sushil Karanjkar, learned counsel for the appellant –
Balkrishan Rajendraprasad Chaubey (A-6) adopted the arguments made by Mr.
U.U. Lalit, learned senior counsel, he also submitted that A-6, being a sub-
Inspector, was present in the company of certain officers and there is no
allegation against him having fired at the deceased. He also pointed out
that even if the Court accepts the prosecution story that he was present at
the place of firing along with the other police officers, there is no
specific role attributed to him. In addition to the same, he also pointed
out that the appellant (A-6) is in judicial custody without trial for
almost seven years.

 

9) On the other hand, Ms. Indira Jaising, learned Additional Solicitor
General, by taking us through the relevant materials referred to in the
charge-sheet and presented in the court, submitted that inasmuch as both
the appellants were police officers, there is every likelihood of
influencing the witnesses. Learned ASG also submitted that inasmuch as
there is a direct link in the abduction and killing of Sohrabuddin,
Kausarbi and Tulsiram Prajapati, no case is made out for grant of bail at
this juncture. She further submitted that by transfer of case records from
the trial court as well as from the High Court of Gujarat to the transferee
Court at Mumbai, viz., the Special Court, CBI and after translation of the
same, the trial is likely to be concluded within a reasonable time. She
also pointed out that the grant of bail/anticipatory bail to certain other
accused is not a ground for release of these appellants at this stage.
Accordingly, she prayed for dismissal of both the appeals.

10) We have considered the rival contentions and perused all the relevant
materials including the charges levelled against the appellants.

Discussion:

11) Before considering the claim of the parties and materials relied upon
for and against the grant of bail, it is necessary to highlight the law
relating to grant of bail in non-bailable offences. At the foremost, the
court granting bail should exercise its discretion in a judicious manner
and not as a matter of course. Though, for grant of bail, detailed
examination of evidence and elaborate discussion on merits of the case need
not be undertaken, there is a need to indicate in such orders reasons for
prima facie conclusion why bail was being granted, particularly, when the
accused is charged of having committed a serious offence. In Kalyan
Chandra Sarkar vs. Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav and Another, (2004) 7
SCC 528, this Court, while considering Sections 437 and 439 of the Code of
Criminal Procedure, 1973, (in short ‘the Code’) held that, amongst other
circumstances of the case, the following factors are required to be
considered by the court before granting bail:

“(a) The nature of accusation and the severity of punishment in case
of conviction and the nature of supporting evidence.

(b) Reasonable apprehension of tampering with the witness or
apprehension of threat to the complainant.

(c) Prima facie satisfaction of the court in support of the charge.”

 
12) Keeping the above principles in mind, let us discuss the stand of
both the sides. As observed in the earlier part of our judgment,
considering the limited issue involved, there is no need to elaborately
analyse, assess, the acceptability or otherwise of the prosecution version,
charges levelled, witnesses examined and documents exhibited at this
juncture. However, in the light of the submissions made by both the sides,
we have carefully perused the role attributed to these appellants in the
charge sheet filed in the Court as well as other materials and also taken
note of judicial custody for nearly seven years pending trial and the rival
contentions.

13) Coming to the delay, it is not in dispute that in respect of
abduction and killing of Sohrabuddin and Kausarbi, after prolonged
hearings, the trial was transferred to Mumbai, that is, out of Gujarat on
the orders of this Court. Thereafter, in respect of killing of Tulsiram
Prajapati, again, on the orders of this Court dated 08.04.2013, the same
was transferred to Mumbai to be heard along with the trial relating to
killing of Sohrabuddin and Kausarbi. Taking note of these aspects
including various orders of this Court, it cannot be claimed that the
investigating agency was responsible for the delay.

14) Mr. U.U. Lalit, learned senior counsel for Sanghian Pandian Rajkumar
(A-2) asserted that not even a single person implicated him in the
commission of offences as alleged by the prosecution. On going through
the allegations pertaining to A-2 in the charge-sheet and the arguments of
Mr. Lalit, learned senior counsel as well as Ms. Indira Jaising, learned
ASG, we are not inclined to express any specific opinion at this stage.
However, there is no dispute that A-2 was arrested on 24.04.2007 and A-6
was arrested on 01.07.2007 and both of them are in custody since then. In
other words, they are in custody nearly for a period of seven years pending
trial. Though the prosecution has filed the charges, admittedly, so far,
the same have not been framed by the Court. Both the counsel for the
appellants pointed out that there is no chance of completion of trial in
the near future due to voluminous documents and more than 600 witnesses.
We have already pointed out that the charges have not been framed even
after seven years. Per contra, Learned ASG submitted that inasmuch as both
the appellants are police officers, there is every likelihood of
influencing the witnesses. She also pointed out that by giving appropriate
direction for transfer of records from Gujarat to the transferee Court,
i.e., special Court CBI at Mumbai, Maharashtra and after completion of the
translation work, a direction may be issued to the special court for early
completion of the trial. We also considered the above objection. It is
clear from the statement of Learned ASG that the relevant records/documents
are still pending in the original court at Gujarat as well as in the
custody of Registrar General, High Court. They are yet to be transferred to
the transferee court. It is also evident that voluminous documents are to
be translated from Gujarati to Marathi. There is no concrete information
about the probable duration for completion of the said work. In such
circumstances, the completion of trial cannot even be presumed in a
reasonable period.

15) Coming to parity, it is pointed out that some persons arrayed as
accused have been granted either regular bail or anticipatory bail. In
order to appreciate the above argument, we culled out the following details
from the impugned order of the High Court:

“(A) Regular Bail

(a) Ajay Parmar (accused No. 10), by the High Court of Gujarat, in
Criminal Miscellaneous Application No. 5703/2012, by common order
dated 30/07/2012

(b) Santram Sharma (accused No. 11), by the Gujarat High Court, in
Criminal Miscellaneous Application No. 5703/2012, by common order
dated 30/07/2012.

(c) N.K. Amin (accused No. 12), by Bombay High Court in Criminal
Bail Application No. 1770/2012.

(d) N.V. Chauhan (accused No. 13), by Hon’ble Supreme Court in SLP
(Crl.) No. 1627/2011, by order dated 19/10/2012.

(e) V.A. Rathod (accused No. 14) by Hon’ble Supreme Court, in SLP
(Crl.) No. 8318/2011, by order dated 02/03/2012.

(f) Amitbhai Shah (accused No. 16), by Gujarat High Court, in
Criminal Miscellaneous Application No. 1770/2012, which order has been
confirmed by the Apex Court, by rejecting the SLP (Crl.) filed by CBI
for cancellation of said bail.

(B) Anticipatory bail:

(a) Ajay Patel (accused No. 17), by Gujarat High court, which order
came to be continued by way of interim order passed by the Apex Court.

(b) Yashpal Chudasama (accused No. 18), by Gujarat High Court, which
order came to be continued by way of interim order passed by the Apex
Court.

(c) Vimal Pattani (accused No. 20) by Special Judge, CBI, Greater
Mumbai (Sessions) on 05/07/2013 in Anticipatory bail Application No.
773/2013.

(d) Gulabchand H. Kataria (accused No. 21), by Special Judge, CBI,
Greater Mumbai (Sessions) on 05/07/2013 in Anticipatory Bail
Application No. 788/2013.

(e) Narasinhulu Balasubramaniam (accused No. 22) by Special Judge,
CBI, Greater Mumbai (Sessions), on 05/07/2013 in Anticipatory Bail
Application No. 781/2013.

(f) Ghattamaneni Srinivasa Rao (accused No. 23), by Special Judge,
CBI, Greater Mumbai, on 05/07/2013, in Anticipatory bail Application
No. 781/2013.”

 

16) A perusal of the reason(s) for grant of bail or anticipatory bail
shows that some of the accused were granted bail by the trial court and
some by the High Court and by this Court. Apart from pointing out various
orders, learned counsel for the appellants has brought to our notice the
order passed by this Court in Naresh Vishnu Chauhan vs. State of Gujarat &
Anr. in SLP (Crl.) No. 1627 of 2011 wherein Naresh Vishnu Chauhan, who was
one of the co-accused, at the relevant time posted as sub-Inspector of
Police and was attached to the Anti-Terrorist Squad, Ahmedabad. In spite
of the fact that the counsel for the State has pointed out that the case
against the said person (A-13) is not only confined to Section 201 IPC but
also includes Section 302 read with Section 120B IPC, this Court, taking
note of the fact that he was in jail for over five years and three months,
directed to release him on bail forthwith.

17) Likewise, another co-accused, viz., Vijay Arjunbhai Rathod, who was
in custody in connection with the encounter case and whose name was
included in the list of the accused, was released on bail by this Court, by
order dated 02.03.2012, in Vijay Arjunbhai Rathod vs. CBI & Anr. SLP
(Crl.) No. 8318 of 2011.

18) In addition to the same, another co-accused, by name, Amitbhai Shah
(A-16) was granted bail by the High Court. This Court, by order dated
27.09.2012, in Criminal Appeal No. 1503 of 2012 – Central Bureau of
Investigation vs. Amitbhai Anil Chandra Shah and Another refused to
interfere with the said order.

19) It is also brought to our notice that another co-accused Dr. N.K.
Amin (A-12) was also granted bail by the High Court of Bombay. According
to the CBI, the said accused was a part of what is called as ‘Stage 3’
conspiracy. According to the CBI, he was sitting in the jeep in which the
dead body of Kausarbi was kept. No doubt, he was granted bail due to his
ailments.

20) In the case of Balkrishan Rajendraprasad Chaubey (A-6), the appellant
herein, this Court, by order dated 06.08.2012 in SLP (Crl.) No. 5166 of
2012, granted him interim bail for a period of one month. Even before
that, earlier, on two occasions, he was released on bail for short periods
and he never misused the privilege granted to him by the Court.

21) We need not go into the reasonings of grant of anticipatory bail to
some of the accused since no serious allegations have been levelled against
them.

22) In the light of the details, allegations in the charge-sheet filed
before the court, many of the co-accused were granted bail by the trial
court/High Court and this Court and of the fact that both the appellants
are in custody for nearly 7 years pending trial and also in view of the
fact that it would not be possible for the special Court to conclude the
trial within a reasonable period as claimed by learned ASG, we inclined to
consider their claim for bail.

23) In the light of the statement made by learned ASG, we direct that all
the materials pertaining to these cases which are lying in the original
Court at Gujarat as well as the records relating to the same under the
custody of the High Court of Gujarat, if any, be transferred to the Special
Court, CBI, Mumbai within a period of one month from the date of receipt of
copy of this order. After receipt of all the required materials, the
Special Court, CBI at Mumbai have to get the relevant documents alone
translated within a period of three months thereafter. The Special Court,
CBI at Mumbai is directed to take the assistance of the Registrars of the
High Courts of Bombay and Gujarat for completion of the translation work as
fixed. By this order, we also direct the Registrars of the Bombay and
Gujarat High Courts to render all assistance to the Special Judge, CBI
Mumbai for early completion of the translation work within the time
stipulated by this Court. After receipt of the required material and
completion of translation work, we direct the special Judge to take all
endeavor for early completion of the trial.

24) In the light of what is stated above, we are satisfied that both the
appellants have made out a case for bail on executing a bond with two
solvent sureties, each in a sum of Rs 1 lakh to the satisfaction of the
Special Judge, CBI, Mumbai on the following conditions:
(i) The appellants shall not directly or indirectly make any inducement,
threat or promise to any person acquainted with the facts of the case
so as to dissuade him to disclose such facts to the court or to any
other authority.
(ii) The appellants shall remain present before the court on the dates
fixed for hearing of the case, for any reason due to unavoidable
circumstances for remaining absent they have to give intimation to the
court and also to the officer concerned of the CBI and make a proper
application for permission to be present through counsel.
(iii) The appellants shall surrender their passports, if any, if not
already surrendered and if they are not holder of the same, that fact
should be supported by an affidavit.
(iv) In case they have already surrendered the passport before the Special
Judge, CBI, that fact should be supported by an affidavit.
(v) On such release, both of them (A-2 & A-6) have to stay at Mumbai and
report at 11.00 a.m. on alternate working days before the Special
Judge, CBI Mumbai.
(vi) Liberty is given to the CBI to make an appropriate application for
modification/recalling the present order passed by us, if the
appellants violate any of the conditions imposed by this Court.
25) Under these circumstances, the appellants are ordered to be released
on bail subject to the conditions mentioned hereinabove to the satisfaction
of the court concerned. With the above directions, the appeals are
disposed of.

 

 
………….…………………………CJI.

(P. SATHASIVAM)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
[ .………….……………………………J.
(RANJAN GOGOI)

 

 
.………….……………………………J.
(N.V. RAMANA)
NEW DELHI;
MARCH 28, 2014.
———————–
16

 

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