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'Pervasive Influence': Allahabad High Court Denies Bail To SP Leader Mohd Azam Khan & Son In Forgery Case On Apprehension Of Witness Tampering

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
27 Nov 2020 4:05 AM GMT
Pervasive Influence: Allahabad High Court Denies Bail To SP Leader Mohd Azam Khan & Son In Forgery Case On Apprehension Of Witness Tampering
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The Allahabad High Court on Thursday denied bail to SP Leader Mohammad Azam Khan and his son Abdullah Azam Khan in an alleged case of forging a PAN card and a Passport, depicting that the latter was born in the year 1990, for the purpose of contesting 2017 assembly elections. A Single Bench of Justice Suneet Kumar observed that the accused enjoy 'deep rooted and pervasive influence'...

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The Allahabad High Court on Thursday denied bail to SP Leader Mohammad Azam Khan and his son Abdullah Azam Khan in an alleged case of forging a PAN card and a Passport, depicting that the latter was born in the year 1990, for the purpose of contesting 2017 assembly elections.

A Single Bench of Justice Suneet Kumar observed that the accused enjoy 'deep rooted and pervasive influence' and thus, there is reasonable apprehension of the witnesses being tampered in the case. It said,

" The forged date of birth was procured during the tenure of the first applicant being Cabinet Minister; Municipal Corporation was under his ministry. The allegations reflect deep rooted criminal conspiracy; gross misuse of position, exercise of coercion and threat in commission of the offence and perpetuating it," it said.

Background

Abdullah Azam Khan is the son of Mohd. Azam Khan, who was MLA and the then Cabinet Minister (Urban Planning, Development and Local Bodies) in Government of Uttar Pradesh, during the year 2012 to 2017.

The allegation against the father-son due was that they forged and fraudulently obtained a PAN and Passport for Abdullah with a false date of birth, and filed a fake affidavit in the 2017 assembly elections.

It was submitted that the first PAN issued to Abdullah reflected his date of birth as January 1, 1993, thereby meaning that he'd have been ineligible to contest elections in 2017. However, the forged documents showed his date of birth as September 30, 1990, to allow him to stand in elections.

Interestingly, the Allahabad High Court has already disqualified Abdullah from the membership of the State Legislative Assembly for being less than 25 years of age as on the date of election, on the basis of his birth certificate.

In the present proceedings, the Applicants submitted that the High Court had already granted them bail for allegedly forging Abdullah's birth certificate. They urged that the instant case is a consequence arising from the alleged fraudulent document pertaining to the date of birth and it does not disclose any new offence.

Findings

The Court held that merely for the reason that the applicants have been enlarged on bail in a case where allegation is of procuring forged document pertaining to date of birth, cannot be viewed mechanically while considering the bail applications, in other cases, though, the genesis is rooted in forged date of birth.

"It cannot be said, in the given facts that the instant case is a consequence of the alleged corrections of the subsequent document based on the date of birth. There is allegation of criminal conspiracy, deception, misuse of office and position in procuring forged document by the first applicant to benefit the second applicant," it held.

The Court further took note of the State's submissions that the applicants had criminal antecedents— of 91 cases registered against Azam Khan since 1982, and 44 against his son, most of them pertaining to fraud and forgery.

The Court further observed that the Applicants were even accused of intimidation and hence, concluded there may be witness tampering. It observed,

"The Court while considering the bail applications is conscious that personal liberty has to be weighed and balanced with societal/public interest at large, and ensure that the course of justice is not thwarted by the powerful and influential accused persons."

It took on record the State's submissions that the Applicants did not cooperate with the investigation and court proceedings, consequently, coercive measures had to be adopted against them.

It held,

"having regard to the position and status of the accused persons, the repetition of the offences, and the deep rooted and pervasive influence, applicants exercise in the various departments of the State, there is reasonable apprehension of the witnesses being tampered with, and danger to the course of justice being thwarted. In the circumstances, grant of bail at this stage would not be in public interest."

It was clarified that the applicants are at liberty to approach the Court for bail after the witnesses of fact are examined in the trial.

Case Title: Mohammad Azam Khan v. State of UP

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