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Delhi HC issues notice on plea challenging bail to visa scam accused Bhaskar Raman

News Agencies | Updated on: 12 July 2022, 15:11 IST
Delhi High Court.

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday issued notice on the plea challenging the bail granted to S Bhaskar Raman in the Chinese visa scam case for allegedly involving Congress MP Karti Chidambaram.

Justice Poonam A Bamba issued notice to S Bhaskar Raman on the plea of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) challenging the June 9 order granting bail to him.

The bench has listed the matter for September 27, 2022, for further hearing.

While granting bail to Chinese Visa scam accused S. Bhaskar Raman the CBI court had taken a serious view on noncompliance of the direction given by the Supreme Court in Arnesh Kumar's Case and delay in the registration of FIR.

The Court had also said that the incriminating emails were in possession of the agency for 5 years.

The CBI court noted, "The alleged offences of this case were committed in the year 2011 and even recovery of alleged incriminating emails were effected in the year 2017. The recovery of around 93,000 e-mails was effected from different email accounts of the applicant during the search conducted in the year 2017 at the residence in the previous case connected to INX Media and backup thereof in a pen drive was taken."

The Special CBI Judge observed, "Thus, the alleged incriminating material is stated to have been in possession of not only the CBI, but also of the DoE in the previous cases for a period of around 5 years prior to registration of this case and enough time was available with CBI to scrutinize the said emails and to act on the basis, thereof, in case any of the said emails showed any further commission of offences by the applicant or the other co-accused, apart from the cases already registered against them. Hence, even if the time for taking action is calculated from the year 2017, the registration of the present FIR against the applicant is apparently delayed."

The CBI Judge further observed that the violation of directions given by the Supreme Court in the case of Arnesh Kumar and the provisions of Section 41A of the Cr.P.C. is apparent in this case from a bare perusal of contents of the notice given to applicant on 17 May 2022.

"The language of notice shows that it has been given to the applicant as the investigating agency was of the view that the present case was covered by the directions given by the Supreme Court in Arnesh Kumar case and it was a case where arrest of the accused was not required," the court noted.

The Court said, "Still the investigating agency has tried to play smart while clubbing the provisions of Section 41A (1) with Section 41 (1)(b) CrPC, which empowers a police officer to arrest an accused without warrants-- against whom a reasonable complaint has been made or a credible information has been received or a reasonable suspicion exists that he has committed an offence-- which is punishable with imprisonment for a term upto 7 years, if the conditions as laid down in the said clause (b) subsection (1) of Section 41 Cr.P.C. are satisfied."

The court had said that the searches at the residence of the applicant were conducted on 17 May 2022 from 7.30 am to 6 pm and thereafter he was taken to the CBI office. It was further admitted that notice was then served upon the applicant in the CBI office and though, the given time for joining of an investigation by the applicant was 6.30 pm, the notice is alleged to have been given around 8.30 pm.

"Even if it is taken that the notice was given prior to 6.30 pm, but it comes out clearly from the above that the accused was virtually and physically in the custody of CBI officials at the time of its service and thus, he had no liberty to have recourse to the legal remedies or to surrender himself in the court of a Judicial Magistrate, as offered in the said notice," the court observed.

Thus, the manner of execution or service of the notice under section 41A of Cr.P.C. to the applicant has frustrated the very purpose of incorporation of the provisions regarding its service in the said section as well as the directions given by the top court in the case of Arnesh Kumar case, the court had noted.

The Court also pointed out, "It is also not the case of CBI, that the alleged bribe amount of Rs 50 lakhs was meant for the applicant or he was the ultimate beneficiary as allegations against him are only for acting as a front or middleman for the co-accused Karti P. Chidambaram and accepting the bribe amount on behalf of the said co-accused to get approval for reuse of the Project Visas."


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First published: 12 July 2022, 15:11 IST