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Allahabad High Court denies bail to Anand Giri

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The Allahabad High Court has rejected the bail application of Anand Giri, the prime accused in the alleged suicidal death of Mahant Narendra Giri who was President of the Akhil Bhartiya Akhada Parishad.

A single-judge bench of Justice Sanjay Kumar Singh passed this order while hearing a Criminal Misc Bail Application filed by Anand Giri alias Ashok Kumar Chotiya.

By means of the application under Section 439 CrPC, Anand Giri alias Ashok Kumar Chotiya sought bail in FIR under Section 306 IPC, PS SC-III/ND, New Delhi lodged by CBI, Special Crime-III, New Delhi (earlier registered as Case under Section 306 IPC at Police Station Georgetown, District Prayagraj).

The bail application moved by Anand Giri alias Ashok Kumar Chotiya said Mahant Narendra Giri (deceased) was Adyaksh, of “Akhil Bhartiya Akhada Parishad, Mahant/Head of Shri Math “Baghambari Gaddi”, Allahpur, Prayagraj and “Shri Bade/Lete Hanuman Ji Temple”, Prayagraj.

On 20.09.2021 at 05:30 PM, Station House Officer, police station Georgetown, Prayagraj received an information on his CUG Mobile of Sarvesh Kumar Dwivedi that Mahant Narendra Giri Maharaj has committed suicide in his room by hanging himself inside the Math. Acting on the aforesaid information, he immediately rushed to the place of incident.

Meanwhile other senior officers were also informed, who also reached there. The said information was recorded in General Diary dated 20.09.2021 of police station-Georgetown, Prayagraj. On arriving at the place of incident, he found the dead body of Mahant Narendra Giri Maharaj lying on the floor of the room.

Information was also given to the field Unit / Crime Branch team. Sunil Kumar, Additional City Magistrate-III, District Prayagraj, also reached there for conducting inquest proceedings on cadaver, which commenced at 22:30 hours on 20.09.2021 and completed at 23:45 hours on the same day.

A hand-written suicide note containing seven pages of Mahant Narendra Giri, which was kept in two open envelopes, two mobile phones of the deceased, knife, bloodstained rope, four packets sulphas (sulphate) and three DVR of CCTV camera installed at the Math etc were recovered from the spot in the presence of witnesses, officers and forensic team by the Station House Officer, police station-Georgetown, Prayagraj. After perusing the suicide note, recovery memos (fard) of recovered items were prepared. Finger prints and chance prints of deceased-Mahant Narendra Giri were also taken. Recovered items were sealed at the spot. The site plan was prepared by the police and photography was also done.

A video clip also recovered from the mobile phone of Mahant Narendra Giri, which was made by deceased-Mahant Narendra Giri himself just before his death on 20.09.2021 whereby he held Anand Giri, Adya Prasad Tiwari and Sandeep Tiwari responsible for committing suicide by him.

The First Information Report was registered on 21.09.2021 at 00:54 hours under Section 306 IPC at Police Station Georgetown, district Prayagraj against Anand Giri on the basis of oral complaint / information of informants Amar Giri and Pawan Maharaj. It has been mentioned in the FIR that on 20.09.2021 as usual at about 12.30 PM, deceased Mahant Narendra Giri after taking lunch went for rest in his room at “Baghambari Gaddi”.

He used to take tea at 3.00 PM, but on that date Mahant Narendra Giri had told them that he will not take tea and he would inform them in case he wishes to have tea. When no information was received from Mahant Narendra Giri by 5.00 PM, the complainant telephoned him, but his mobile was switched off.

The FIR further alleges that on knocking the door, when no response was noticed, the door was forced open by Sumit Tiwari, Sarvesh Kumar Dwivedi, Dhananjay and other disciples and Mahant Narendra Giri was found hanging from the ceiling fan of the room. To explore if he was still alive, he was brought down by disciples by cutting the rope, but by then Mahant Narendra Giri had died.

It was also mentioned in the FIR that Mahant Narendra Giri was disturbed for the last few months due to Anand Giri. Sometimes he himself used to say that Anand Giri keeps troubling and harassing him a lot.

On the basis of suicide note and video of Mahant Narendra Giri (deceased), which have been quoted above, involvement of Adya Prasad Tiwari and his son Sandeep Tiwari also came into light along with Anand Giri, therefore, they have also been made accused in the case.

After the said incident, the Crime Branch of district Prayagraj received an information that Anand Giri surrendered at police station Galheri, district Saharanpur, thereafter he was brought to Prayagraj and his statement was recorded by the investigating officer. Anand Giri and Adya Prasad Tiwari were arrested on 21.09.2021 at 8.15 PM and Sandeep Tiwari was arrested on 22.09.2021 at 19.30 hours from Roadways Bus Stand, Civil Lines, Prayagraj.

The bail application of Anand Giri was rejected on 11.11.2021 by the Special Judge (EC Act), Allahabad.

G.S. Chaturvedi, Senior Counsel, appearing on behalf of the applicant made the following submissions:-

  1. Applicant on account of dispute with deceased-Mahant Narendra Giri had left Prayagraj in March, 2021 and shifted to Haridwar and thereafter, he was neither concerned with the deceased nor with the Math “Baghambari Gaddi”, at Prayagraj, rather was concentrating at Haridwar with his disciples.
  2. The last interaction between the applicant and the deceased-Mahant Narendra Giri was on 26 May 2021 in Lucknow, when compromise took place between them and after compromise all the issues were buried, as such there is no proximity between the interaction of the applicant with the deceased and the suicide committed by the deceased on 20 September 2021.
  3. After 26 May, 2021, there was no conversation between Anand Giri and the deceased-Mahant Narendra Giri. Even on the day of “Guru Purnima” on 24.07.2021 also Anand Giri did not come to Prayagraj to meet Mahant Narendra Giri.
  4. The Investigating Officer in the most superficial manner filed charge-sheet against the applicant only on the basis of suicide note and video made by the deceased before his death, in which no source of information has been disclosed by the deceased that who gave information to him that “tomorrow applicant-Anand Giri, in order to defame him, will viral his morphed obscene video with a girl in an objectionable position”.

Lastly, it submitted that no offence of instigation and abetment is made out against the applicant Anand Giri, who is languishing in jail since 21.09.2021, therefore he is liable to be released on bail.

Anurag Kumar Singh, counsel appearing on behalf of the CBI, by refuting the aforesaid submissions of Chaturvedi, counsel for the applicant, argued that the facts and circumstances of the case as revealed from the investigation including the suicide note and dying declaration of Mahant Narendra Giri as reflected from the contents of his video dated 20.09.2021 irresistibly established that accused persons namely Anand Giri (applicant), Adya Prasad Tiwari and Sandeep Tiwari hatched a criminal conspiracy to create circumstances with a motive to compel/force the deceased-Mahant Narander Giri to commit suicide so that they may be able to achieve their ill object.

Under the facts of the case as mentioned above, the court found that there was a proximate between the unfortunate incident of suicide of Mahant Narendra Giri and acts of the accused persons and their other concerned associates. The test of proximity cannot be too literally constructed and practically reduced to a cut-and-dried formula of universal application so as to be confined in a straitjacket. Where the death by suicide is a logical culmination of a continuous harassment or mental pain, each step directly or indirectly connected with the end of life of the deceased are relevant. The facts having a bearing in this case cannot be ignored particularly suicide note and video made by the deceased just before committing suicide and, therefore, I am not inclined to accept the submission of GS Chaturvedi, senior counsel for the applicant, that there was no proximate link between the suicide of the deceased and acts of the accused persons.

The Court said that, on the basis of aforesaid analysis of the case, the submission of G.S. Chaturvedi, senior counsel, that the applicant is innocent is not liable to be accepted at this pre-trial stage. The further detailed discussion relating to the incident need not be referred to herein since the allegations and the defence thereto is still open to be urged by the parties in the trial Court.

So far as affidavit dated 03.07.2022 of the informants is concerned, the Court further found that the first information report of this case was lodged on 21.09.2021 on the oral complaint / information of informants Amar Giri and Pawan Maharaj, who are also witnesses, out of five witnesses of the inquest proceeding. Statements under Section 161 CrPC of Amar Giri and Pawan Maharaj were recorded by the then investigating officer of police on 21.09.2021 and both of them supported the contents of the FIR.

“In view of the above, this Court is prima-facie satisfied and finds force in the submission of the counsel for the State and CBI that in case, applicant is released on bail, there is every likelihood of winning over other witnesses and tampering with the evidence.

As a fallout and consequence of aforesaid discussion, considering the facts, materials on record and other attending circumstances of the case, which are relevant for the purpose of deciding this bail application, submissions advanced on behalf of parties, complicity of the applicant, gravity of the offence and severity of the punishment as well as possibility of tampering the evidences and winning over the witnesses as noted above, I do not find any good ground to grant bail to the applicant at this stage,” the Court observed while rejecting the bail application.

“However, considering the detention period of the applicant-Anand Giri alias Ashok Kumar Chotiya in jail since 21.09.2022, it is directed that the trial court shall make all endeavour to conclude the trial of the applicant expeditiously without granting unnecessary adjournment to either of the parties. Applicant-Anand Giri shall cooperate with the trial and either of the parties shall not seek unnecessary adjournment,” the order reads.

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