HC to hear Vinay Mishra's plea of protection from arrest in cattle smuggling case

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Kolkata, Jun 7 (PTI) The Calcutta High Court on Monday directed that it will hear on merit an application by Vinay Mishra, against whom the CBI has issued a red corner notice in connection with its investigation in a case of cattle smuggling, for modification of the court's earlier order to appear before the investigating agency.

Justice Tirthankar Ghosh directed that Mishra's application for protection from arrest in the case and for permission to appear before the CBI in the virtual mode will be taken up for hearing on June 9.

Mishra's counsel informed the court that the petitioner is out of India and a red corner notice is pending against him.

Abhishek Manu Singhvi, the senior advocate appearing for Mishra, submitted that there is lack of jurisdiction as there is no consent granted by the state of West Bengal to the CBI to investigate the matter.

He further submitted that although the FIR was registered in 2020, the incident referred to therein is of the period between 2015 and 2017 and that Mishra was neither named in the FIR nor in the initial charge sheet.

Mishra prayed for modification of an order the high court passed on April 22, wherein he was directed to be present before the CBI on May 3 and a conditional immunity from arrest was granted to him till the first week after the summer vacation of the high court.

He prayed that he be allowed to join the investigation through video conferencing owing to the pandemic, claiming that he will appear before the CBI personally after travel restrictions are eased and the situation ebbs.

Mishra prayed for protection from arrest till disposal of his petition before the high court and cancellation of the application for red corner notice with Interpol against him.

Additional Solicitor General YJ Dastoor, appearing for the CBI, opposed the prayer for modification and claimed that there was suppression of facts by the petitioner when the initial application was moved before the high court.

In the modification application, it was claimed by Mishra that he left India on September 16, 2020, much prior to the registration of the case dated September 21, 2020 and another FIR on November 27.

He claimed to have not received any notice or summons from the investigating agency prior to his departure from India.

Mishra stated in his application for modification before the high court that he had renounced his Indian citizenship on December 19, 2020.

He further claimed that one of the principal reasons for which he had to leave India was 'due to constant life threats from the members of BJP to join their party.' Mishra stated that owing to his bad health condition and current curbs on international travel, he could not appear before the CBI on May 3 as directed by the high court.

He further claimed that his request to appear before the CBI through the virtual mode had been turned down by the agency.

Mishra alleged that he is being targeted by the central agencies as he is an ex-general secretary of West Bengal Pradesh Trinamool Youth Congress. PTI AMR SOM SOM

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