The Supreme Court has said that an accused can not be jailed and denied bail if a trail court fails to ensure the presence of co-accused who, after getting bail, obstructs the progress of the trial.
A vacation bench headed by Justice G.S. Singhvi said: “Why should an accused suffer if the court is not able to enforce the presence of other accused?”
He said: “The mere fact that other accused have exhibited an attitude of non-cooperation cannot justify the denial of bail to the appellant (accused).” Justice C.K. Prasad is the other judge on the bench.
Granting bail to Farhat Ali Khan in a cheating case, the court earlier this week said he was in jail since Sep 14, 2007 and was not shown to have obstructed the progress of the trial.
The court said that the Allahabad High Court was not justified in “declining to entertain his prayer for the grant of bail”.
When senior counsel Pramod Swarup, appearing for the Central Bureau of India (CBI), opposed the plea for bail by the petitioner, the apex court asked him as to what the special CBI court or the prosecuting agency were doing all these days when other accused were obstructing the progress of the trial.
“Did it (special CBI Court) cancel their bail or did you (CBI) move for the cancellation of bail?” the court asked.
The court asked Swarup to “justify the denial of bail to the petitioner” and told him not to make generalized statements.
The court said that if any of the accused was found to be obstructing the expeditious conclusion of the trial, the special court would be free to exercise its powers and cancel the bail of the concerned accused.
Farhat Ali Khan had secured a cash credit limit of Rs.1 crore in favour of his firm M/s Farhat Ali from the State Bank of Patiala branch located at Lajpat Nagar in Moradabad Sep 6, 2001.
The firm was shown as a manufacturing unit of brass handicrafts, which is in dispute now.
Six people are accused in this case. They include Khan, his wife Naseem Kausar, their son Wasim Khan, bank manager V.K. Yadav, assistant bank manager Rajinder Singh and Khoob Singh.
Three accused – Naseem Kausar, Khoob Singh and Rajinder Singh – were granted bail by the high court. Wasim Khan’s arrest was stayed by the high court on the grounds of his being a minor. Yadav got bail from the Supreme Court.
All of them were accused of cheating and causing losses to the bank. Yadav was accused of allegedly granting overdraft much beyond his discretionary powers in eight different current accounts and also sanctioning 10 fraudulent housing loans.