Supreme Court: In a major relief to Samajwadi Party Leader Azam Khan, the 3-judge bench of L. Nageswara Rao, BR Gavai and AS Bopanna, JJ has granted him interim bail in a cheating case.
Azam Khan, who, in the case at hand, was accused for committing offences punishable under Sections 420 and 120B of the Penal Code, 1860, was accused in 87 criminal cases when he approached the Supreme Court and was granted bail in 84 cases at that point of time. He, however, has now been granted bail in all 87 cases.
Interestingly, though the FIR was registered on 18th March, 2020 and the charge-sheet in the said FIR was filed on 10th September, 2020, Azam has only now been implicated, i.e., after a period of 1 year and 7 months, by order dated 6th May, 2022 passed by the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Rampur.
“It is not as if that the allegations which are now sought to be made against the petitioner could not have been made at that point of time. The main allegation against the petitioner in the said FIR No.70 of 2020 is that the certificates are forged. Further allegation is that the person who had issued the certificates was not authorized to issue those certificates.”
Hence, taking into consideration the delay in implication of Azam Khan and the nature of the allegations made therein, the Court was of the view that it will not be in the interest of justice to deprive him of his personal liberty, particularly when in respect of 87 criminal cases/FIRs, he has already been released on bail.
While the Court directed Azam Khan to be released on interim bail, he is directed to file an application for regular bail before the Competent Court within a period of two weeks from the date of order.
It has, however, been made clear that the interim bail granted to the petitioner by the present order shall continue to operate till the decision of the Competent Court in the application for regular bail and in the event that the regular bail application is decided against the interest of Azam Khan, the present interim bail shall continue to operate for a further period of two weeks from the date of the order passed by the Competent Court in the application for regular bail.
[Md. Azam Khan v. State of Uttar Pradesh, WRIT PETITION (CRIMINAL) NO.39 OF 2022, order dated 19.05.2022]
For Appellant: Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal
For State: Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju