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Custodial death case: Allahabad High Court directs SSP, inspector to present progress report

The Allahabad High Court ordered the SSP Dr Gaurav Grover and Inspector Crime Branch Vinod Agnihotri to appear before the court in the case of death in custody of Pipraich police station of Gorakhpur.

The court wanted to know why other accountable officers were not suspended.  The court, while waiving the attendance of both the officers, directed them to present the progress report of the judicial inquiry.

A Single Bench of Justice Shekhar Kumar Yadav passed this order while hearing a Criminal Misc Bail Application filed by Vikram Singh.

Shiv Kumar Pal, Government Advocate has apprised to the Court that in respect of death of accused Pamod alias Sonu, the SSP, Gorakhpur vide letter dated 08.08.2022 has requested to the District Judge, Gorakhpur to initiate a judicial enquiry and in response thereto, the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Gorakhpur has initiated a judicial enquiry, which is conducted by Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate-I, Gorakhpur, which is still pending.

The Court noted that,

In the affidavit filed on behalf of S.S.P, Gorakhpur, it is stated a judicial enquiry in respect of death of deceased Pramod alias Sonu, a separate enquiry is also being conducted by Superintendent of Police, City, Gorakhpur. A separate departmental enquiry against the then Station Officer, Police Station Pipraich has also been initiated and he has been put under suspension.

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It is further mentioned that in the aforesaid enquiries, if any police personnel is found to be guilty, suitable legal and penal action will be taken against him.

S.K Pal has further stated that S.S.P, Gorakhpur letter dated 02.10.2022 has also sent a reminder to the District Judge, Gorakhpur requesting him to apprise the same about the outcome of judicial enquiry as soon as possible.

Government Advocate is unable to explain as to why the other responsible officer has not been suspended.

The Court directed to put-up the matter as fresh, in chamber, on 20.12.2022 to enable the Government Advocate to submit progress report of the said judicial enquiry.

“So far as the bail application of the applicant is concerned, the Government Advocate has fairly stated that just due to pendency of an enquiry, the applicant may not be suffered.

Under the facts and circumstances of the case as well as considering the submissions advanced, but without expressing any opinion on merits of the case, this Court finds it to be a fit case for bail”, the Court observed while allowing the bail application.

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The Court ordered that,

Let the applicant-Vikram Singh, involved in Case Crime No.426 of 2022, under Section 302 IPC, Police Station Pipraich, District Gorakhpur be released on bail on furnishing a personal bond and two heavy sureties each in the like amount to the satisfaction of the court concerned subject to following conditions :

(i) The applicant shall file an undertaking to the effect that he shall not seek any adjournment on the date fixed for evidence when the witnesses are present in Court. In case of default of this condition, it shall be open for the Trial Court to treat it as abuse of liberty of bail and pass orders in accordance with law.

(ii) The applicant shall remain present before the Trial Court on each date fixed, either personally or through his counsel. In case of his absence, without sufficient cause, the Trial Court may proceed against him under Section 229-A IPC.

(iii) In case, the applicant misuses the liberty of bail during trial and in order to secure his presence proclamation under Section 82 Cr.P.C, may be issued and if applicant fails to appear before the Court on the date fixed in such proclamation, then, the Trial Court shall initiate proceedings against him, in accordance with law, under Section 174-A IPC.

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(iv) The applicant shall remain present, in person, before the Trial Court on dates fixed for (1) opening of the case, (2) framing of charge and (3) recording of statement under Section 313 Cr.P.C. If in the opinion of the Trial Court absence of the applicant is deliberate or without sufficient cause, then it shall be open for the Trial Court to treat such default as abuse of liberty of bail and proceed against him in accordance with law.

(v) The Trial Court may make all possible efforts/endeavours and try to conclude the trial within a period of one year after the release of the applicant. In case of breach of any of the above conditions, it shall be a ground for cancellation of bail.

It is made clear that observations made in granting bail to the applicant shall not in any way affect the trial Judge in forming his independent opinion based on the testimony of the witnesses.

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