Bombay High Court

Bombay High Court: In criminal bail application preferred under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) seeking regular bail Madhav J. Jamdar, J., denied bail due to severity of the offence, the central role of the applicant in the crime, and the likelihood of fleeing from justice or tampering with witnesses.


As per the prosecution, the applicant had taken an ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Policy and was insured for an amount of Rs. 1.5 Crores. There were 6 accused in total wherein the present Applicant is accused 1 and all other accused included the parents, brother, and a friend of the applicant. The prosecution submitted that all accused persons hatched a conspiracy by which an attempt was made to portray that the applicant had met with an accident and the car which he was driving caught fire in which the accused got burnt and died. An F.I.R. was lodged by the maternal uncle of the applicant on 20-01-2020, which stated details of the accident and death of the applicant. He also identified the body as that of the applicant’s.Thereafter, a supplementary statement of the uncle was recorded wherein he stated that he was called to the police station where he saw the applicant present and alive. At this time, the applicant told him that the dead body was that of his neighbor whom he murdered by setting the car on fire to claim the benefits of his insurance policy.

Counsel for the Applicant submitted that he had been in custody for the past 4 years and 2 months without any progress in the trial. He also mentioned that the supplementary statement of the uncle is an extra-judicial confession that could not be admissible as evidence in court. The recovery made of the applicant’s clothes also does not support the arguments of the prosecution and that the case is based on circumstantial evidence. He submitted that since all co-accused were released on bail, parity is applicable to the applicant.


The Court noted that even though the car belonged to the mother of the applicant, he was the one using it and that an insurance policy was recovered in favor of the present applicant, along with a document related to the policy of the car. The Court stated that the crime committed is punishable with imprisonment of life under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 considering the grave and serious nature of the same. It was felt by the Court that there would be a likelihood of the applicant, both fleeing from justice and tampering with witnesses.

Further, the Court stated that the role of the present applicant was completely different from the other accused in this matter and that the benefit of parity could not be given to the applicant. The Court further stated that the case does not rely solely on the extra-judicial confession of the uncle and that there were several incriminating circumstances against the applicant.

While agreeing that there had been a delay in the trial, the Court explained that Section 436-A of the CrPC specifies that even if an under-trial prisoner has completed half of the punishment, the Court can order continued detention, and the present offence is very grave and serious since it was a pre-planned crime. Thus, the bail application was held to be rejected.

[Sumit Suresh More v. State of Maharashtra, 2024 SCC OnLine Bom 1035, Order dated 04-04-2024]

Advocates who appeared in this case:

For Applicant — Advocate Shailesh D. Chavan, Advocate Shrikant Panhale

For Respondent — Advocate P.H. Gaikwad, Assistant Public Prosecutor

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