In the matter pertaining to the bail plea of Gautam Navlakha, the Delhi High Court has directed National Investigation Agency to furnish the complete copy of the proceedings in the application for issuance of production warrants moved before the Special Judge (Mumbai), for its consideration.
The Single Bench of Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani has also asked for the complete records of the application moved before the Delhi Bench of NIA Court for seeking an extension of Navlakha's judicial remand.
In addition to this, as per court's order, the application filed by the concerned Jail Superintendent, Tihar Jail seeking permission to transfer the applicant to Mumbai has also been requisitioned.
The present has order come in pursuance of the submissions made by Ms Nitya Ramakrishnan who was appearing for Navlakha.
Ms Ramakrishnan informed the court that while the present proceedings are pending, a hearing for extension of the applicant's judicial remand was conducted on 23.05.2020 before the Special Judge (NIA), Delhi, and at the NIA's request, the applicant's judicial remand was extended upto 22.06.2020.
It was further informed to the court by Ms Ramakrishnan that on 24.05.2020, although a Sunday, an application was moved by the NIA before the Special Judge (NIA), Mumbai seeking production warrants for the applicant before that court; which was allowed and warrants were issued for production of the applicant before the Special Judge (NIA), Mumbai on 26.05.2020 at 11 am.
Based upon the production warrants so issued, an application was moved by the concerned Jail
Superintendent, Tihar Jail, Delhi on 25.05.2020, being a Gazetted holiday on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr, seeking a transit order to transfer the applicant from Delhi to Mumbai.
The said application was allowed and the applicant was sent to Mumbai via train on May 26.
In light of these facts, Ms Ramakrishnan argued that such haste was shown by NIA in order to move the applicant out of this court's jurisdiction. This is evident from the fact, she submitted, that neither of the Benches of Special Court were informed about the pendency of this petition.
Appearing for the NIA, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had informed the court that the NIA was planning to transfer the applicant to Mumbai sometime soon in view of opening-up of air travel after obtaining orders from the competent court.
In light of these submissions, the court asked for the NIA Investigating Officer to be joined in the hearing through video conferencing. When SG resisted to this demand, the court rejected it and went ahead in directing for the appearance of the IO within an hour by noting that:
'While ordinarily this court would not see too much cause for hurry in this case, in view of the inexplicable, frantic hurry shown by the NIA in moving the applicant from Delhi to Mumbai while this matter was pending and the NIA had itself sought time to file status report, this court does get a sense that all proceedings in this jurisdiction would be rendered utterly infructuous if an element of urgency is not brought to bear on the present proceedings. Prima-facie it appears that while on the last date, this court had granted adequate time to the NIA to file its status report in response to the interim bail plea ; and while the NIA has filed an affidavit opposing that plea, the NIA has acted in unseemly haste to instead remove the applicant out of the very jurisdiction of this court ; and, if the applicant is right, without even informing the Special Judge (NIA), Mumbai or the Special Judge (NIA), Delhi of the pendency of the present proceedings.'
NIA now is supposed to present all the directed documents before the next date of hearing.
The matter will next be taken up on June 03.
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