Monday, August 20, 2007
New Delhi, (UNI): The Supreme Court today ordered the release of Sanjay Dutt and five others till the copy of the trial court judgement in their case is received by the petitioners.
A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnanan, Justice C K Thakker and R V Ravindran however, directed that the moment the copy of the trial court judgement is supplied to the petitioner, they will immediately surrender and then their regular bail application shall be considered by the court on merit.
The Supreme Court referred the hearing of the bail application filed by the petitioners as the detailed reason on which their conviction has been based by the TADA Court Mumbai. The other petitioners are Azid Ahmed, Zaibunnisa Anwar Kazi, Ibrahim Musa Chauhan alias Baba and Samir Hingora.
The Apex court also directed that the petitioners shall be restored to their pre-conviction stage, which means they will be released from jail if they were on bail at the time of their conviction.
The court directed the six petitioners to report to the CBI office every Sunday and Azid Ahmed to withdraw his petition seeking a claim of Rs 25 lakh while telling his counsel that serious charges remain against him and no compensation could be given under such cases. Sanjay was convicted for possessing illegal arms under the Arms Act on November 28, 2006 and was sentenced to six years' imprisonment by the TADA court on July 31 this year and is presently lodged in Yerawada Jail, Pune.
Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam earlier submitted before the court that the CBI was not willing to create the impression that it was favouring anyone but sought to classify the petitioners on the basis of the gravity of their offences such as major ones under TADA, minor offences under TADA and conviction under the Arms Act.
The court, however, made it clear that it could not consider the petitions on merit basis since copies of the detailed judgement were not yet available.
The court also refused to adhere to the request of the counsel for the petitioners that they be granted at least a week's time to surrender after the copies of the detailed judgement are received and made it clear that each one of them would have to surrender immediately after getting the copy of the trial court order.
Mr Subramaniam earlier submitted before the court that many people were killed and injured in the serial bomb blasts which took place in Mumbai on March 12, 1993.
In all, 123 accused were put on trial and dons like Dawood Ibrahim and Saudia Arabia based Memon brothers were declared proclaimed offenders (absconders) in the case. About a dozen persons have been awarded capital punishment in the case.
Passports of the petitioners will remain with the CBI and they will not be allowed to leave the country without prior permission of the court.