Chandigarh, September 29
The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday granted pre-arrest bail to Punjab’s former deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal, ex-DGP Sumedh Singh Saini, police officer Paramraj Singh Umaranangal and three others in connection with a case involving “unprovoked firing” on peaceful protesters at Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan.
Pronouncing the order in the open court, Justice Anoop Chitkara ruled it was not a case for pre-trial incarceration. The petitioners had moved the court after Faridkot Judicial Magistrate First Class issued notices following the filing of the final investigative report by the police under Section 173 CrPC against all the accused, including then-chief minister Prakash Singh Badal. The allegations involved a conspiracy to open fire on the protesters.
Justice Chitkara emphasised that, despite a prima facie case against the petitioners, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) had chosen not to arrest them, opting instead to file a police report without taking them into custody. The petitioners, anticipating arrest, had applied for anticipatory bail before the Sessions Court, which was subsequently dismissed.
Justice Chitkara added: “Thus, if the State was interested in arresting the petitioners during the pendency of the trial, then nothing could have stopped them from doing so because, till that time, the petitioners had no favourable order, including any interim order.
Justice Chitkara also added: “In the entirety of facts and circumstances and without referring to the evidence collected by the SIT in detail, so that it is misused by the people who propagate hate speeches and hurt religious feelings, it suffices to say that it is not a case for pre-trial incarceration of the petitioners”
The petitioners were represented by senior advocate R.S. Cheema, counsel A.S. Cheema, D.S. Sobti, Satish Sharma, SPS Sidhu, Sarbuland Mann, Sangram Saron and Madhaurao Rajwade.
Justice Chitkara added the SIT has already concluded the investigation, and did not need the petitioners’ interrogation. Furthermore, the evidence collected was based on eyewitness accounts and documentary or digital records. As such, the question of custodial interrogation of the petitioners does not arise
Justice Chitkara asserted: “I am of the considered opinion that in case, at any stage, the prosecution gets any communication or evidence that the petitioners are influencing the witnesses or hampering the trial, then it shall be permissible for the State to file an application for cancellation of bail on that ground alone.”
Justice Chitkara added safeguards to the bail conditions, stating that the petitioners must not influence, browbeat, pressurize, make any inducement, threat, or promise, directly or indirectly, to witnesses, police officials, or any other person acquainted with the facts. This was to ensure that there is no interference with the disclosure of facts to the Police or the Court and no tampering with evidence.
Most Read In 24 Hours
Don't MissView All
Supreme Court to deliver verdict on petitions challenging nullification of Article 370 on December 11
Five-judge Constitution Bench had reserved the verdict on Se...
Next hearing soon, closely following matter and extending al...
Sonia Gandhi, Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul, Priyanka attend the...
Flags concerns to US, Canada over Pannun’s threat to Air Ind...