Sunday, August 11, 2002, Chandigarh, India





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Shivani murder case
No bail for absconding IG
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 10
The Additional District and Sessions Judge, Panchkula, Mr H.S. Bhangoo, today rejected the anticipatory bail application filed by Haryana Inspector General (Prisons), Ravi Kant Sharma. The latter is wanted by the Delhi police in connection with the Shivani Bhatnagar murder case.

The bail application was rejected by the court on the grounds of territorial jurisdiction. The court ruled that since the FIR in this case was registered in Delhi, the applicant could not be granted bail by a Panchkula court.

In an interesting development, the bail application was opposed by the Delhi Government, who had sent its standing counsel, reportedly on the request of the Delhi police. Mr S.K. Saksena, who represented the Delhi Government, opposed the bail on grounds of jurisdiction.

Quoting a number of judgements, Mr Saksena and Mr Virender Rathore, counsel for Mr Rakesh Bhatnagar, husband of Shivani, pleaded that the murder took place in Delhi and the case was registered in Delhi. They said that the jurisdiction was concerned with the crime and not with the criminal.

Moreover, the court could not review its own judgement of August 6, when it had denied interim bail to Mr Sharma, they said. Counsel pleaded that the Delhi police had collected substantial evidence against Mr Sharma. The transcripts of telephonic conversations between Mr Sharma and Sri Bhagwan, another accused, were with the Delhi police, which proved the formerís complicity in the murder of Shivani.

Supporting the application, Mr Gian Grewal, counsel for Mr Sharma, who was assisted by Mr Ashwani Talwar and Mr Ravi Sharma, said that they had additional documentary proof of Mr Sharma cooperating with the police as and when asked by the latter.

The defence also pleaded that if the court did not have the jurisdiction for granting an anticipatory bail, a transit bail may be given. They also said that the murder of Shivani Bhatnagar was a blind murder and that the evidence collected by the police was circumstantial .

They also said that the Delhi police was showing undue haste in the matter, which proved their extraneous circumstances and mala fide intentions. After hearing counsel for both sides for more than an hour , the judge reserved his orders for another hour. Later, he declined to grant bail to Sharma.

Meanwhile, the Delhi police has stepped up its efforts to nab Ravi Kant. A strict vigil is being maintained at the residence of Sharma here, as also at those of people close to him in order to get some clue about his whereabouts.

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