delhi high court

Delhi High Court: A bail application was filed under Section 439 of the Criminal Procedure Code read with Section 45 and 65 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (‘PMLA’), seeking grant of regular bail in a case registered at the Police Station Directorate of Enforcement on 22-08-2022 under Sections 3 and 4 of PMLA, primarily on medical grounds. Swarana Kanta Sharma, J., refused bail and held that the directions issued by this Court vide order dated 04-09-2023 shall be complied with by the jail authorities to ensure that applicant is taken for follow-up and physiotherapy sessions at VNA Hospital.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (‘CBI’) had registered an RC on 17-08-2022 at Police Station CBI, ACB, Delhi under Section 120B read with Section 447-A of Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) and substantive offences thereof read with Section 7 of Prevention of Corruption Act, and CBI had conducted raids on several premises in Delhi and across the country including residential and business premises of the applicant and had made certain seizures. Thereafter, the Directorate of Enforcement registered the present ECIR on 27-08-2022 and raids were conducted at the office and residence of the applicant on 06-09-2022. The applicant in the present case was arrested on 28-09-2022 by the Directorate of Enforcement. In the case registered by the CBI, a charge sheet was filed against the applicant before the Trial Court without arrest in the predicate offence and the cognizance of the same was taken by the Trial Court vide order dated 15-12-2022.

An interim bail was granted to the applicant in the predicate offence registered by CBI but on 16-02-2023, the Trial Court dismissed the bail application filed by the applicant in the present ECIR. However, in the present ECIR, the applicant was granted interim medical bail for a period of 30 days by the Trial Court and was granted regular bail on the same day in the predicate offence registered by the CBI. Thereafter, the interim medical bail of the applicant was extended by the Trial Court till 01-05-2023. Meanwhile, the applicant approached the Court seeking a grant of regular bail by way of the present bail application and had also sought an extension of interim bail which was granted by the Trial Court. On several occasions, interim bail was granted and extended on medical grounds, however, vide order dated 06-10-2023 dismissed the bail application which stands impugned in the present application.

The Court noted that the State carries a dual obligation in matters such as the present one. Firstly, it is bound by its commitment to thoroughly investigate the case, ensuring that the process is conducted fairly and impartially. Simultaneously, the State is entrusted with the responsibility of providing adequate medical care to the accused. The prospect of seeking bail on medical grounds arises when the prison authorities are incapable of providing the required care or treatment essential for the treatment of the accused including the referral hospitals according to the circular mentioned above. It is also crucial that the sickness should be of such a nature that if the accused is not released on bail, he cannot be ensured proper treatment for his ailment.

The Court opined that that the applicant is not suffering from any life-threatening condition or sickness or infirmity which involves danger to his life and for which treatment cannot be provided to the applicant in jail. As the applicant is getting adequate medical attention as required by him, and the Jail authorities in view of the applicant’s medical condition have even allowed him to get treatment from his doctor on an outpatient basis, as and when required. Thus, there are no grounds to enlarge the applicant on regular bail in the present ECIR.

The Court directed that the Jail Superintendent concerned shall ensure that the applicant is not left unattended in the jail cell/dispensary, and as also directed by the Trial Court vide order dated 06-10-2023, one full-time attendant is provided to the applicant either on a rotational basis or in a manner as deemed fit by the Jail Superintendent concerned.

[Sameer Mahandru v Directorate of Enforcement, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 6680, decided on 19-10-2023]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Mr. Kirti Uppal, Mr. Vikas Pahwa and Mr. Pramod Kr. Dubey, Senior Advocates alongwith Mr. Dhruv Gupta, Mr. Prabhav Ralli, Ms. Namisha and Mr. Anubhav Garg, Advocates for petitioners

Mr. Zoheb Hossain, Mr. Vivek Gurnani, Mr. Kartik Sabharwal and Ms. Manisha Dubey, Advocates for respondents

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