HC grants interim custody bail to accused in EC bribery case to meet ailing mother in Chennai

·4-min read

New Delhi, Jun 8 (PTI) The Delhi High Court has granted two-week interim custody bail to an accused, arrested in 2017 in the Election Commission (EC) bribery case allegedly involving AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran and others, to meet his ailing mother in Chennai.

The high court said it does not see any plausible cause or reasonable apprehension to deny the custody parole to accused Sukesh Chandrashekar.

It noted that he is in prison for over three years and has undertaken to pay all expenses, including for travel, lodging and boarding of police officials who would accompany him to Chennai.

A bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Anup Jairam Bhambhani said the accused is granted the relief for two weeks from the date he avails it and added that during the entire period of release on interim custody bail, he shall be accompanied by a requisite police escort to be provided by the DAP III Battalion of Delhi Police from his departure from Rohini Jail here and until his surrender to prison.

The counsel for the state opposed the accused’ plea for granting custody parole on the ground that Chandrashekar was implicated in several criminal cases including under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the charges against him were serious.

The counsel argued that the accused has in the past abused the relief and liberty granted to him by attempting to suborn the police officials who were responsible for him during his remand.

Chandrashekar’s counsel said his mother was suffering from left ventricular failure with cardiomegaly, a condition in which the heart gets enlarged and exposes the patient at a high risk of sudden cardiac arrest.

While granting the relief, the high court said “it does appear from the medical records of petitioner’s mother, as also from the written response given by the doctors/consultants to queries made by the State regarding the mother’s medical condition, that the petitioner’s mother is medically in a vulnerable condition.” The bench directed Chandrashekar to deposit an advance of Rs five lakh with the Delhi Police towards the expenses of police escort for travelling by air to-and-from Chennai with him and also towards their their lodging, boarding and other necessary expenses.

The court directed the accused to be stationed in Chennai at the address given by him and leave the place only when he needs to accompany his mother or consult doctors in relation to her medical condition and also made it clear that he shall not be entitled to presence of any personal guards and will not socialise with guests.

“The petitioner (Chandrashekar) undertakes to obtain all requisite permissions from the Government of the State of Tamil Nadu as may be required as per applicable rules and protocols in-force due the prevailing pandemic, prior to departure from Delhi.

“The petitioner shall not contact, nor offer any inducement, threat or promise to the complainant or to any prosecution witnesses; nor indulge in any act or omission that may prejudice the proceedings pending against him. Upon expiration of the period of interim custody bail, the petitioner shall be brought back to prison in Delhi,” the bench said.

Chandrashekar was arrested in 2017 by the police. He is accused in 20 cases and has secured bail in 17 of them and is in custody in the remaining three cases.

A charge sheet was filed by the police before the trial court in the case on July 14, 2017, alleging that Dhinakaran and Chandrashekar had conspired to bribe EC officials to get the 'two leaves' symbol for their party.

The police have also included in the charge sheet allegations of forgery for the purpose of cheating, using forged documents as genuine, possessing a forged document, intending to use it as genuine and criminal conspiracy.

Chandrashekar was arrested for allegedly taking money from Dhinakaran to bribe EC officials to get the AIADMK 'two leaves' symbol for the Sasikala faction in a by-election to the R K Nagar Assembly seat in Tamil Nadu.

Dhinakaran, also chargesheeted by the police, was arrested on April 25, 2018 after four days of questioning for allegedly attempting to bribe EC officials for the symbol.

The bypoll was necessitated by the death of Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa, who represented the assembly segment.

The EC had frozen the AIADMK's symbol after the two factions-one led by Dhinakaran's aunt Sasikala and the other by former chief minister O Panneerselvam-staked a claim to it. PTI SKV SKV RKS RKS

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