The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Monday rejected the pleas of jailed former minister Gayatri Prasad Prajapati and his son Anil Kumar Prajapati seeking permission to attend the funeral ceremony of the former minister’s nephew.
The division bench of Justice Alok Singh and Justice Virendra Kumar Srivastava passed this order while hearing petition filed by Gayatri Prasad Prajapati.
The petition has been filed for issuance of writ, order or direction in the nature of mandamus directing the respondents to take the petitioner namely Gayatri Prasad Prajapati to his ancestral house, situated in village Parsawa, Amethi, on February 24 and 25, 2021 to allow him to participate and perform his obligations in the last rites and ceremony of late Shubham Prajapati, in the interest of justice.
The Counsel for the petitioner submitted that petitioner’s nephew namely late Shubham Prajapati, aged 22 years, was found dead on February 12, 2021 under mysterious circumstances near railway track near village Khaurana, Amethi under the Government Railway Police (GRP) Station Pratapgarh, whose 13th day ceremony is scheduled on February 24 and 25, 2021 in accordance with Hindu rituals and community laws.
The Counsel submitted that since the deceased was a nephew of the petitioner, the petitioner may be permitted to attend the last rituals and ceremony of the deceased on humanitarian ground.
The Counsel for Union of India submitted that petitioner is under the custody of officers of Enforcement Directorate in compliance of order passed by the lower court and interrogation of the petitioner is going on.
The Counsel said that during the course of investigation/enquiry, some valuable piece of evidence is to come out and if the petitioner is allowed to go to his village, the enquiry/investigation may be badly affected.
The Counsel submitted that the deceased (nephew of the petitioner) was also to be inquired and interrogated by the officers of Enforcement Directorate but owing to his death, it could not be conducted.
It is further submitted that second bail application of the petitioner is pending in another case. In the case of permitting the petitioner to go to his village to attend the last rites and rituals of his nephew, it may cause adverse effect on the interrogation and investigation being conducted by the officers of Enforcement Directorate. Accordingly, the petition cannot be allowed and is liable to be dismissed.
Additional Advocate General Vinod Kumar Shahi, on behalf of the State government, opposed the the petition, submitting that earlier the petitioner was released on short-term bail by this Court, which was later on challenged before the Apex Court. The Apex Court has set aside the aforesaid order.The Counsel further submitted that bail application of the petitioner is still pending and petitioner is in custody, in compliance of the judicial order. Hence, writ in the nature of mandamus is not maintainable.
AAG Shahi had also drawn the attention of this Court on order dated 19.02.2021, passed by Single Judge in U/s 482/378/407 No. 881 of 2021, whereby Court setting aside the order passed by the learned court below, has remanded the matter for re-hearing the application of Enforcement Directorate (Paper No. B-16) afresh, in accordance with law.
It is clear that the aforesaid cases including the case of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 are pending against the petitioner and presently, the petitioner is in custody of officers of Enforcement Directorate in compliance of the judicial order and is being interrogated by the concerned officers.
In our view, permitting the petitioner to attend the last rituals of his nephew may affect the investigation/enquiry being conducted by the officers of Enforcement Directorate.