Sunday, January 29, 2023

Supreme Court grants bail to person involved in trans-border smuggling

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The Supreme Court has granted bail to a person, who was alleged of smuggling catttle on the Indo-Bangladesh Border. A Bench comprising Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari on Monday granted bail to Enamul Haque, for allegedly smuggling cattle with the help of Border Security Force (BSF) personnel at Murshidabad Border in West Bengal.

It was alleged that Haque had paid illegal gratification to BSF personnel for facilitation of the illegal trade.
Appearing for the accused, Senior Advocate Mukul Rohtagi, Senior Advocate Shyam Divan and Advocate Vijay Aggarwal said that he has been in custody for over 14 months now. 
A charge sheet and two supplementary charge sheets have been filed against Haque in an offence, which was punishable by seven years, contended the petition.
It said the gravity of the offence was determined by the length of the punishment. The petitioner further  argued that all the co-accused persons were already on bail in the present case, so the accused was entitled to bail on the grant of parity.
The petitioner said he was an accused in FIR registered in Cochin, wherein he has been granted statutory bail and the conditions imposed on him have been relaxed and he has even travelled abroad and came back to India post-grant of bail, before his arrest in the present FIR.
Furthermore, it was argued that CBI had issued three 41A CrPC notices and that Haque was arrested when he was called on a notice under Section 160 of CrPC, which is issued to a witness.
Additional Solicitor General of India, Senior Advocate Aman Lekhi appearing for CBI, vehemently opposed the bail application, stating that there was nothing wrong with the order passed by the High Court of Calcutta as the accused was a habitual offender. Cochin case was registered in 2018 and the present case was registered in 2020 on similar facts.
CBI also contented that Haque has taken advantage of the porous borders to move items across, which also has a bearing on the National Security and if Haque was released on bail, it will be a threat to the National Security.
CBI also contented that Haque was an influential man as despite a Look Out Circular issued against him, he still managed to enter India through the border, with the complicity of local police. If released, it would render further investigation vulnerable, added the national agency.
The petitioner said that a person cannot be kept behind bars merely because the accused might be a threat to national security and the offence of smuggling cannot be stated to be a threat to national security. 
The Apex Court noted that no person can be kept in jail indefinitely with an open-ended probe by agencies on a conjectural apprehension that their activities could involve a larger conspiracy, which may prove detrimental to national security.


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