Crime Branch provided a false Crime Chart of the accused to the Court. Domestic Violence case & Challan cases too included in Crime Chart by SIT to oppose Anticipatory Bail
Nagpur: Additional Session Court on Thursday granted permanent pre-arrest relief on the same day in the form of anticipatory bail to 11 persons named as accused in the ongoing sand theft case leaving the city police crime branch with a setback. The accused had received ad-interim bails in the past.
The crime branch has already arrested more than two dozen persons for their alleged involvement in the sand thefts but the recent order has left them befuddled.
Earlier, the court had granted anticipatory bail to only Narendra Pimple who had been subsequently booked in a fresh offence of extortion whereas he had secured interim Anticipatory Bail in the extortion case.
In the latest order, Savita Khorgade was among the one, out of 11 persons, to get the anticipatory bail. Her husband, Guddu, is now languishing in jail after being slapped with stringent Maharashtra prevention of dangerous activities (MPDA) Act by city police for his alleged involvement in the sand theft mafia racket.
Additional sessions judge, PY Ladekar, also imposed conditions in all the orders to grant anticipatory bails to the 11 accused. The court issued order to release the 11 accused after execution of the PR Bond of Rs15,000 and surety of the like amount in case he or she is placed under arrest.
While pronouncing the order, the court observed that neither the revenue department nor the owner of the ghats have so far complained of any sand theft.
The court has referred to the prosecution case underlining the fact that police have claimed the theft of around 532.95 brass sand worth about Rs17 to 18 lakh.
The court, referring to the quantity and valuation of the theft of sand so far, raised questions whether there was more loss to the state than the amount of property worth more than Rs5 crore which were already being seized from the different arrested persons.
The court further stated that the worth of the property (sand) stolen is not known to the investigation agency.
While confirming the anticipatory bail, the court said that the offence was committed a couple of years ago and the investigating agency is not aware of the value of the sand stolen and the loss was calculated on the basis of electronic transit passes and trips made by the trucks using them. The court has also observed that the charge sheet was filed around five months ago. The investigation was still kept open but the quantity of the property stolen is not clear till now.
“In case of theft, naturally stolen property is liable for seizure. Whether that is done is also not reflected in the say or whether any action the investigation agency is taking on that front is also not submitted before this court,” the court observed in its order of granting the anticipatory bail.
The court said that the investigation officer has not called the applicants (accused) though he could have after the ad-interim protection.
Passing the order, the court stated that when the custody of the accused is not sought for the recovery of sand which is allegedly stolen, the investigation can be continued even if the personal liberty of the accused is protected.
The prosecution had submitted the crime charts of the accused for proving their criminal antecedents mentioning even the challans under motor vehicle acts and domestic violence filed against them. In the crime Chart of accused Manoj Gaikwad a crime of theft is inserted which was never registered against him. Because of the nature of Investigation it is said on behalf of accused persons that by hook or crook the probe agency intends to put them behind bars.
Accused persons had also taken plea that it is guided solely by political animus and a desire to harass, intimidate, and retaliate against an Ex- Minister who they view as a political opponent.