The Supreme Court on Monday granted bail to Mohd Enamul Haque, who is a prime accused in an alleged multi-crore cattle smuggling case where he is facing corruption charges, saying that his custody is not warranted.
A bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Dinesh Maheshwari said: "We are of the opinion that continued detention of appellant in custody is not warranted."
As Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi, representing the CBI, urged the bench to not grant him bail in the matter as investigation in the matter is in progress, the bench pointed out that the investigation in the matter cannot remain open-ended.
"We direct the appellant to be released on bail subject to terms and conditions set by the Special CBI judge, Asansol....".
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing Haque, submitted before the bench that his client has been in custody for a long time and all the other accused, including the BSF Commandant, have been granted bail. He also pointed at the issue of the CBI's jurisdiction to investigate a case, when the state government has withdrawn its consent.
The bench said that against the backdrop of offences involved and the custody undergone by the petitioner, his further custody was not required. It also observed that the petitioner has already been granted default bail by the court in Kochi and he has been in custody since November 2020 and charge sheets have been filed in 2021.
During the hearing, it observed that Haque has been charged with offences having a maximum sentence of seven years' imprisonment.
The top court was hearing an appeal by Haque challenging the Calcutta High Court order, passed in November 2021, which dismissed his bail petition citing serious accusations against him.
It was alleged that a BSF Commandant in Roshanbagh, West Bengal, had accepted illegal gratification to allow cattle smugglers near the India-Bangladesh border go scot-free. The BSF Commandant was later arrested at a railway station in Kerala, and Rs 43 lakh was recovered from him. It was alleged that Haque had played a key role in the deal with the Commandant.
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