Sunday, December 4, 2022

Allahabad High Court rejects bail application of former MP Rizwan Zaheer in murder case

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The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court has rejected the bail application of former MP Rizwan Zaheer in the murder case of Balrampur’s Firoz Ahmed alias Pappu.

A Single Bench of Justice Dinesh Kumar Singh passed this order while hearing a Criminal Misc Bail Application filed by Rizwan Zaheer S/O Zaheerul Haq.

The application under Section 439 CrPC has been filed seeking bail in FIR under Section 302 and 120-B IPC, Police Station Tulsipur, District Balrampur.

The FIR was registered against unknown persons. As per the allegations in the FIR, which was lodged on a complaint given by the brother of the deceased, Firoz Ahmad @ Pappu, when the deceased was going to his house at around 10.20 PM on 4.1.2022 after he got alighted from the car of Shahid Pradhan, two unknown persons having iron rod and sharp edged weapon, attacked the deceased and he was killed mercilessly. On alarm when the complainant reached at the place of incident, he found his brother dead. The assailants had fled away from the scene of occurrence.

In the complaint, it was said that the murder of brother of the complainant was committed in a pre-planned manner due to the political reasons

The police during the course of investigation, recorded the statement of the complainant, who reiterated the FIR version. Wife of the deceased in her statement recorded under Section 161 CrPC said that she was President of the Nagar Panchayat, Tulsipur and before her, the deceased husband was Chairman of the Nagar Panchayat. He was very active in politics. Her husband was very popular in the constituency. His supporters were requesting him to fight the Vidhan Sabha election from Tulsipur Constituency on the ticket of Samajwadi Party.

It was said that her husband went to Lucknow several times and met the top senior leaders of the Samajwadi Party. It was further said that her husband was very hopeful of getting the ticket from Samajwadi Party to fight Vidhan Sabha election from Tulsipur Constituency.

On the other hand, the accused-applicant, who is ex MP, was trying to get ticket from Samajwadi Party for his daughter, Zeba Rizwan, to contest the election of Vidhan Sabha from Tulsipur Constituency, and in this effort, the accused-applicant’s son-in-law, Rameez was also assisting the accused-applicant. It was said that the deceased husband had told her that he feared for his life from the accused-applicant, his son-in-law, Rameez, his daughter, Zeba Rizwan and Shakeel, who resides in the bunglow of the accused-applicant.

On 31.12.2021, her deceased husband went to Lucknow and on 4.1.2022 he came back at around 6.30 PM and after sometime, he went out in the car Shahid Pradhan and came back at around 10.20 PM. After he got alighted from the car of Shahid Pradhan when he was going on foot to his house, he was attacked and killed. Two assailants were arrested and they confessed their crime before the police. They had also said that they had executed the offence at the behest of the accused-applicant and other accused.

The accused-applicant has been member of the Vidhan Sabha once from his home town and, thereafter, he was elected as Member of Parliament twice from Balrampur.

Siddhartha Sinha, counsel for the accused applicant submitted that this is a case of no evidence. The accused-applicant has been falsely implicated due to political reasons.

He further submitted that statements of the co-accused, who are allegedly two assailants, cannot be read against the accused-applicant as the same are not admissible in evidence. He also submits that there is no eye witness to the incident. The case is based on circumstantial evidence. The police have falsely implicated the accused-applicant in the crime in question.

He also submitted that the daughter of the accused-applicant and co accused, Zeba Rizwan has been enlarged on bail by the Court order dated 23.5.2022.

Counsel for the accused-applicant said that the accused-applicant has been in jail since 10.1.2022, and he is not keeping good health inasmuch he has been suffering from heart ailment and is highly diabetic. He further said that the accused-applicant is not in a position to tamper with the evidence or influence the witnesses and considering these facts, he may be enlarged on bail.

On the other hand, Rao Narendra Singh, AGA and Sushil Kumar Singh, counsel for the complainant have opposed the bail application and submitted that the accused-applicant is a hardened criminal and ‘bahubali’. Out of fifteen cases, six cases are relating to murder etc, inter alia, registered under Section 302 IPC. Accused-applicant has been twice Member of Parliament and twice Member of Legislative Council and once Member of Legislative Assembly. The accused-applicant started his career in the crime world way back in 1987 and on each time when he was enlarged on bail, he indulged in another heinous offence and because of his terror and influence, the witnesses could not dare to depose against him and he secured acquittal on the ground that the prosecution could not prove the case against him beyond reasonable doubt as he was able to influence the witnesses and tamper with the evidence because of his terror, might, money and muscle power.

Additional Government Advocate and the counsel for the complainant have further submitted that the proceedings under the Uttar Pradesh Gangsters and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act, 1986 Act 7 of 1986 have also been undertaken against him and his benami properties of several crores have been attached under Section 14(1) of the Uttar Pradesh Gangsters and AntiSocial Activities (Prevention) Act, 1986 by the District Magistrate, Balrampur. The deceased has been killed in a very gruesome manner for the reason that he was a potential challenge to the political career of the accused-applicant. It has been submitted that there is sufficient evidence available on record against the accused-applicant. If the accused-applicant is enlarged on bail, he will influence the witnesses and tamper with the evidence and free and fair trial would not be possible because of terror, might, money and muscle power in his possession.

Counsel for the accused-applicant, in rejoinder, has submitted that merely because the accused-applicant has criminal history of few cases, bail should not be denied to him as there is no evidence against him, which would lead to his conviction in the offence.

The Court observed that, it is not in dispute that the deceased was trying to get a ticket from Samajwadi Party for Assembly Elections of 2022 from Tulsipur Constituency. The accused-applicant was trying to get a ticket from the same constituency from the Samajwadi Party for his daughter, co-accused, Zeba Rizwan. The role of accused applicant has come to light during the course of investigation and the charge sheet has been filed against him and other co accused. As per the prosecution story, the accused-applicant is the prime architect of the offence to remove his political opponent from the scene. He is a “bahubali” with a long record of heinous offences registered against him.

“Considering the heinousness of the crime, impact on the society, influence and might of the accused-applicant, his past record of heinous offences and without commenting on the merits of the case, the Court does not find that it is a fit case to enlarge the accused-applicant on bail at this stage”, the Court further observed while rejecting the Bail Application.

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