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Bulgarian National Withdraws Plea Filed In SC Alleging Illegal Detention In Tamil Nadu

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7 July 2020 4:17 PM GMT
Bulgarian National Withdraws Plea Filed In SC Alleging Illegal Detention In Tamil Nadu
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The Supreme Court on Monday permitted Ilian Zdravkov Markov, a Bulgarian National, to withdraw the petition filed by him alleging that he was being illegally detained in Tamil Nadu.

He had moved the SC challenging the judgment delivered by Madras High Court on January 13, dismissing his habeas corpus petition.

On Monday, the counsel for the petitioner sought permission to withdraw the petition from SC.

Based on that, the SC dismissed the plea, stating "Learned Counsel appearing for the petitioner prays for withdrawal of this petition with liberty to take out appropriate proceedings in accordance with law. Accordingly, the special leave petition is dismissed as withdrawn with the liberty aforesaid". 

 The Underlying Facts.

The petitioner, stated to be a psychologist in Bulgeria, came to India as a tourist with a visa having validity of two months. While staying at Chennai, he got arrested based on the confession statement of another Bulgarian national, Peter Petrov, who was under custody in a case related to bank fraud.

The petitioner claimed that he developed an acquaintance with Peter Petrov only after meeting him in Chennai, and that he had no knowledge or involvement with his alleged criminal activities.

On August 7 ,2019, the petitioner was granted default bail as the police failed to submit chargesheet within the stipulated 90 days. By the time, his visa got expired, and he was moved to a special camp from the central prison, despite the grant of bail.

In such circumstances, the petitioner moved a habeas petition before the Madras High Court, alleging illegal detention. During the pendency of the petition, the petitioner was served with a copy of a detention order, stated to have been passed on July 24, 2019 by the competent authority under the Foreigners Act. Taking note of that, the High Court disposed of the writ petition.

Subsequently, the petitioner filed another petition, challenging the detention order.

The state had alleged that the petitioner was arrested based on the confession statement produced by the other Bulgarian national from whom a good amount of foreign and Indian money had been seized. It was alleged that the money was ill-gotten through credit card fraud.  The prosecution asserted that if the petitioner is let free, he will indulge in similar offences.

Decision of the Madras High Court

The Madras High Court had decided that there exist no such illegal detention as alleged by the petitioner. 

A bench of Justice R Subbiah held, "The petitioner was thereafter granted bail on 07.08.2019, by which time, the Visa given to the petitioner had expired. Therefore, the respondents, on the basis of the orders passed by the Government detained the petitioner in the Special Camp at Tiruchirapalli. Such an order has been passed in compliance with Section 3 (2) (3) of Foreigners Act which require the petitioner to be accommodated in a particular place as may be earmarked by the Government "

The Court had further observed that the action of the state in detaining the petitioner are part of procedural formalities

"In the present case, in the order dated 24.07.2019, the District Collector, Tiruchirapalli District was assigned the task of identifying a place for detention of the petitioner and accordingly, the petitioner was detained in the Special Camp at Tiruchirapalli. In fact, by the said order dated 24.07.2019, the petitioner as also the above said Peter Petrov were ordered to be detained in a place to be identified and located by the District Collector, Tiruchirapalli in the event of their release from prison until their deportation. This would only indicate that until the procedural formalities relating to the petitioner's deportation are completed, the petitioner was ordered to be detained in the Special Camp to facilitate his deportation. This is more so that the Visa granted to the petitioner had expired long back "

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