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SC GRANTS PRE-ARREST BAIL TO SK. SUPIAN IN BENGAL POST-POLL VIOLENCE CASE

Cause Title: SK. Supian @ Suffiyan @Supisan v. The Central Bureau of Investigation

Case Number: Criminal Appeal No. 198/ 2022 [@ SLP (Crl.) No. 9796/2021]

Quorum: Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice Abhay S. Oka

Judgment Date: 09/02/2022

Counsel for Appellant: Shri Kapil Sibal

Counsel for Respondent: Additional Solicitor General of India, Shri Aman Lekhi

Counsel for Complainant: Shri P.S. Patwalia

Author: Pragash B, Advocate, Madurai Bench of Madras High Court


Background of the Case

The appellant has filed an appeal before the Honourable Apex Court of India, aggrieved by the impugned Order of the Honourable Calcutta High Court by which he was denied pre-arrest bail. The appellant sought pre-arrest bail in connection with the First Information Report (FIR) registered at the Nandigram Police Station.

One Debabrata Maity sustained injuries on 03/05/2021 in an alleged incident of mob attack and consequently he succumbed to injuries on 13/05/2021. The FIR was registered for the offences punishable under Sections 147, 148, 149, 323, 325, 326 and 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The appellant was not named in the FIR.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) took over the investigation of the case on 30/08/2021 and in September 2021, the appellant was called for the investigation by CBI in the first charge sheet filed on 05/10/2021 in which the appellant was not named an accused. The appellant received a notice from CBI to remain present for the investigation on 25/10/2021 and then the appellant has filed a petition seeking anticipatory bail before the High Court. On 27/10/2021, protection against arrest was granted by the High Court to the appellant but he was denied anticipatory bail by the impugned Order dated 29/11/2021. A supplementary chargesheet was filed on 06/01/2022 in which also the appellant was not named as an accused.

The Honourable Supreme Court of India by its Order dated 28/01/2022 granted interim relief and directed CBI to produce copies of the statements of the witnesses recorded under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC). Accordingly, copies of the statements of 18 witnesses recorded under Section 161 of CrPC, as well as copies of 5 witnesses recorded under Section 164 CrPC have been placed on record.

Findings of the Court

The incident is of 03/05/2021 and the appellant has not been named as an accused in both the chargesheets filed on 05/10/2021 and 09/01/2022. Now the respondent-CBI relies upon Section 164 statements given by 5 witnesses. The Statements of the first two witnesses were recorded on 07/09/2021 and 11/11/2021 but the appellant was not named in both the charge sheets. Though the statement of Shri Manoj Kumar Bera was recorded on 18/11/2021, he was not cited as a witness in the first two charge sheets. The statements of the other two witnesses have been belatedly recorded on 24/01/2022. (Para 8)

The Honourable Supreme Court of India held that

Considering the peculiar facts of the case, we are of the view that the appellant deserves to be granted pre-arrest bail. However, the appellant will have to fully cooperate with the respondent-CBI for investigation and will have to remain present for investigation as and when called upon by the investigating officer” (Para 9)

Accordingly, the impugned Order is set aside. Pre-arrest bail is granted to the appellant in connection with Case No. RC 0562021S0032 of CBI arising out of Nandigram PS Case No. 224 of 2021, on the conditions incorporated in clauses (i) to (iii) of sub section (2) of Section 438 CrPC. The appellant shall fully cooperate for investigation and shall remain present for investigation as and when called upon by the respondent-CBI. We make it clear that the pre-arrest bail granted to the appellant is liable to cancelled if it is found that the appellant is not cooperating for the investigation. We further make it clear that we have not made any adjudication on the merits of the controversy. (Para 10)


Cases Referred

1. Shri Gurbaksh Singh Sibbia and Others v. The State of Punjab, (1980) 2 SCC 565.

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