Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
Top Stories

Supreme Court Reserves Order In SP Leader Azam Khan's Plea For Interim Bail In Building Certificates Forgery Case

Shruti Kakkar
17 May 2022 1:11 PM GMT
Supreme Court Reserves Order In SP Leader Azam Khans Plea For Interim Bail In Building Certificates Forgery Case
x

The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved orders in a petition filed by Samajwadi Party Leader Azam Khan seeking interim bail in a case wherein he has been accused of forging building certificates to get recognition for Rampur Public School.

The bench of Justices LN Rao, BR Gavai and AS Bopanna was hearing a writ petition filed through Advocate Lzafeer Ahmad BF wherein Khan along with grant of bail had also sought for quashing of the proceedings registered under section 420 and 120B IPC in the said case and for further direction that Court's prior permission be sought before arresting Khan in any other case.

On the last date of hearing, the Court, at the request of the Additional Solicitor General, Mr. S.V. Raju, granted time to the UP Government to file a reply demonstrating merit in the cases registered against Khan.

Previously, the Bench had expressed concern regarding the inordinate delay in disposing of Khan's bail application by the Allahabad High Court. Subsequently, the Allahabad High Court granted bail to Khan, but he is yet to be released. His judicial custody had been obtained till 19.05.2022, with respect to another case.

On 09.05.2022, Senior Advocate, Mr. Kabil Sibal appearing on behalf of Khan mentioned the matter and apprised the Bench that another FIR has been filed against Khan, in a ruse to keep him in jail at any cost. He submitted that he'll also file a fresh writ petition in this regard.

Also Read: Supreme Court Raises Eyebrows At UP Police Registering New FIR Against Azam Khan Soon After He Gets Bail

What Transpired In The Supreme Court Today?

When the matter was called for hearing, ASG SV Raju appearing for the State of Uttar Pradesh submitted that Khan had threatened the IO while his statement was being recorded. To further apprise the bench he also read some of the contents of the statement.

"But he was inside," remarked Justice Gavai.

"How do you treat it as a threat Mr Raju? This is what we have been hearing everyday. These are not threats, this is what the politicians say everyday. Mr Raju, that can happen only after 5 years. Modus operandi is actually not good. You can't keep on doing this. Bail in one matter and jail in another matter," added Justice Rao.

ASG SV Raju further submitted that there were 3 schools run by Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar Trust by the name of "Rampur Public School" which were owned by Khan and the land on which Rampur Public School, Jauhar University Road and Topkhana were situated were grabbed/possessed illegally grabbed/possessed by Khan from actual owners of the land. He further added that the complainant in the FIR submitted an application to the SP, Rampur in which he had categorically stated that Khan was the main accused in the case and had requested for thorough investigation into registration/affiliation documents of all the three Schools.

"Magistrate has applied his mind and has taken cognisance and they have put up a report saying that his involvement surfaces and there is forgery of the documents. In 3 matters where he came he has been granted bail. He is land grabbers, 64 complaints have been filed," ASG further submitted.

"He has been granted bail in more serious offenses," remarked Justice Gavai.

Urging the bench to not grant him bail, ASG while referring to Arnab Goswami's judgment which related to whether one could invoke jurisdiction of the Top Court under Article 32 to seek bail, ASG said that he could not be allowed to bypass the procedure established by law without there being any extraordinary circumstance as it will open a floodgate of similar Petitions for other people to directly approach this Hon'ble Court without following the due process in such cases.

"Because of antecedents, not a case of being granted bail. In Arnav Goswami's case, let him apply for bail. Go and apply there and all other complaints were quashed because they were arising from the same incident. He is asking only for interim bail," submitted Raju.

Contending that the State had perjured themselves and have not disclosed facts, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal for Khan submitted that while he had made an oral mentioning with regards to the MA wherein Khan had sought bail in a pending FIR on April 26th and 29th, the State registered the impugned FIR on May 2, 2022 wherein the State said that Khan had committed forgery with regards to the documents. He further added that on May 5 an application was made to the Magistrate seeking summoning of Khan in the impugned FIR May 6, a statement was issued Rampur Police that in investigation of another criminal case, Khan's name had come into light and a warrant had been issued in this regard. Sibal further contended that on May 6, 2022 an order was issued by the Magistrate remanding Khan to custody.

"This is shocking my lords. Petitioner's custody is required for recovery of rubber stamps. That's why they went to the court that they can't seek recovery without a recording statement and now they come to court saying that I have threatened," Sibal further submitted.

He further contended that, "In 2020 I wasn't even the accused and now they realize that I may be out and thus forgery. That document itself is not forged and now they've got the statement of superintendent engineer. Tomorrow they will file another case and this is an unending process."

To oppose the submissions made by Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, ASG SV Raju said,

"Allegation is 120B, forged letters have been used. He is prima facie guilty of the offense u/s 471 and its at nascent stage of investigation. No chargesheet has been filed against him but has been filed against other accused. Under the new CrPC there is requirement of.. 173(8) is clear- no permission is required. He has been lucky enough to get bail in these matters and even in the previous regime 19 cases were filed against him when we are not in power and he is a habitual offender."

Background

Khan has been booked for forging building certificates to get recognition for Rampur Public School. He is the Chairman of the said institute. On 06.05.2022, a custody warrant had been issued to Khan while he was in Sitapur Jail, where he has been lodged since 26.02.2020.

In the run up to and right after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, almost 81 cases were registered against Azam Khan. On 18.03.2020, an FIR was registered under Section 420 and 120B IPC alleging cheating with respect to submission of Fire and Life Safety Certificate while getting affiliation of Rampur Public School, Yateemkhana. After hearing the parties, the Allahabad High Court reserved judgment in Khan's bail application on 04.12.2021. Khan filed his nomination from the Sitapur Jail as a candidate for Rampur, which went to polls on 14.02.2021, in the second phase of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly Election.

In order to participate in the election campaign as Samajwadi Party's candidate from Rampur he moved the Apex Court, on 21.01.2022, seeking grant of interim relief in 3 remaining cases, in which he was yet to be granted bail by the concerned courts. These three cases involved charges of corruption, cheating, forgery, criminal breach of public trust, criminal conspiracy, criminal defamation, tampering of evidence and creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes. On 08.02.2022, as the matter came up before the Apex Court, it was apprised that the criminal matters against Khan were politically motivated and they were being delayed intentionally to worsen his plight. The Apex Court dismissed the petition, but gave liberty to Khan to approach the concerned courts seeking expeditious disposal of his bail applications.

Thereafter, he was able to secure bail in two of the three cases, but remained behind the bars as the Allahabad High Court was yet to pronounce the judgment in the bail application qua the third case. In view of the delay in the same, on 23.04.2022, Khan approached the Apex Court seeking grant of interim bail. Subsequently, the UP Government filed applications before the Allahabad High Court seeking to bring on record necessary facts crucial to the adjudication of the bail application. On 05.05.2022, the bail application was heard and judgment was reserved. On 06.05.2022, the Supreme Court expressed displeasure that the Allahabad High Court had kept the bail plea pending.

On the same day, a press note was issued by the Rampur Police that in investigation of another criminal case, Khan's name had come into light and a warrant had been issued in this regard. Khan was served with a custody warrant, on 06.05.2022, while he was in custody in Sitapur Jail. He was produced before the Magistrate through video conferencing and was remanded to judicial custody till 19.05.2022. On 10.05.2022, the High Court pronounced the order it had reserved, granting bail.

Click Here To Read/Download Order



Next Story