New Delhi: An accused, facing trial along with jailed top Naxal ideologue Kobad Ghandy, has been granted bail by a Delhi court which relied on a recent Supreme Court verdict ordering release of inmates who have spent half of the maximum sentence prescribed for their offences.
Additional Sessions Judge Reetesh Singh released on bail Rajender Kumar alias Arvind Joshi, arrested in March 2010 by Special Cell of Delhi Police, saying he has been in custody for more than four years and seven months which is over half of the maximum sentence (seven years) prescribed for offences of cheating and forgery for which he is facing trial.
The court noted that in the case of Bhim Singh vs Union of India, the Supreme Court in its September 5, 2014 order had directed all magistrates, chief judicial magistrates and sessions judges to identify under trial prisoners who have completed half of the maximum period of imprisonment provided for the said offence after complying with the procedure under section 436A CrPC.
"Keeping in view that the accused is in judicial custody since March 19, 2010, which is more than one-half of the maximum punishment prescribed for offences under sections 419, 420 and 468 IPC and the observations of the Supreme Court in the case of Bhim Singh, I release the accused (Kumar) on bail as per the mandate of section 436A CrPC subject to furnishing a personal bond in the sum of Rs one lakh with sureties of the like amount.
"Application for bail is allowed accordingly. He shall be released from judicial custody, if not required in any other case," the judge said.
The court had on July 16, 2012 framed charges against Ghandy for allegedly being a member of a banned terror group and furthering its activities in violation of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
He was charged with sections 20 and 38 of UAPA relating to membership of the banned group CPI-Maoist and furthering its activities.
The court had also framed charges against Kumar for the offences of cheating, forgery for the purpose of cheating, criminal conspiracy and cheating by impersonation of IPC.
Kumar had sought bail on the ground that he was arrested in March 2010 and had been in custody since then. He had also submitted that he had undergone over half of the maximum sentence which could be passed against him.
His bail plea was opposed by the special cell's counsel, saying the accused has allegedly forged certain documents for accused Ghandy who is charged for various offences under UAPA.
The court, which is currently recording statements of prosecution witnesses, has fixed the case for December 10. Ghandy is still lodged in jail under judicial custody.
Ghandy was earlier absolved by the court of terror charges due to want of proper sanction and later on, a fresh charge sheet was filed by the special cell with another sanction for his prosecution under the provisions of UAPA.
Thereafter, he was charged with the offences under UAPA.
He is also facing trial for allegedly committing forgery, cheating and impersonation.
An alumnus of the prestigious Doon School, Ghandy was said to be part of the top leadership of erstwhile CPI-ML (People's War Group) from 1981 and he allegedly continued as a Central Committee member in CPI (Maoist) and was elected to its Politburo in 2007.
He was arrested by the Special Cell of Delhi Police for allegedly trying to set up a base for CPI (Maoist) in the national capital.