Kerala scribe case: ADJ objects to CJM hearing custody plea on day bail plea was to be heard by him

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Mathura, Nov 4 (PTI) A Mathura court on Wednesday remanded four persons, including a Kerala journalist, arrested here last month on way to Hathras, in the UP STF's custody, inviting a superior court's objection to hearing the STF's plea on a day when it was to hear the bail applications of the accused.

Mathura Chief Judicial Magistrate Anju Rajput remanded the four accused in STF’s custody for two days, said prosecution counsel Brijmohan Singh.

The STF, which had been transferred the case from the state's Crime Branch belatedly on October 18, had approached the CJM Rajput’s court on Monday, seeking their police custody, but she had deferred the hearing on the plea to Wednesday.

Wednesday was also the day slated by Additional District Judge Amar Singh to hear the bail pleas of three of the four accused, barring that of Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan.

ADJ Singh took exception to the CJM’s decision to hear the STF’s plea for the police custody of the four on Wednesday when the CJM, after hearing the matter in the morning, also reserved her order and gave it in the evening with the police diary and other prosecution document lying in her court.

As ADJ Singh took up the hearing of the bail plea of Kappan’s three co-accused Atiqur Rahman, Aalam and Masood, the STF pleaded to the court to adjourn the matter for another day, saying the police diary of the case and other documents were lying in the CJM’s court.

The STF counsel also pleaded to the court not to hear the bail pleas of the accused on the day arguing that the probe into the case was still going on and the accused were needed for further custodial interrogation.

ADJ Singh had earlier on October 29 also adjourned the hearing on the bail pleas on the STF's request that the accused were still needed for the investigation.

But while adjourning the matter then, ADJ Singh had also warned the STF that he was doing it for the last time.

Not being able to hear the bail pleas even on Wednesday, ADJ Singh issued a show-cause notice to CJM Rajput, said defence counsel Madhuban Dutt Chaturvedi.

ADJ Singh considered the CJM’s conduct of hearing the STF plea for the police custody of the accused on November 4 as an “obstruction in the functioning of his court”, said Chaturvedi.

After issuing a show-cause notice to the CJM’s court, ADJ Singh slated Thursday to hear the bail pleas of the three Hathras case accused.

Kerala journalist Kappan and three others -- Atiqur Rahman, Aalam and Masood – were arrested by Mathura police on October 5, while they were on their way to the village in Hathras to meet the family members of an alleged gang-rape-cum-murder victim there.

Arrested initially on suspicion of being a threat to the peace, the four were booked two days later on a slew of stringent charges, including those of sedition and terrorism, and were sent to a Mathura jail under the judicial custody.

The Crime Branch of the UP police, which had then been investigating the case, had taken the four in their custody for a few days for their interrogation, after which they were sent back to the judicial custody.

Meanwhile, the three of them had also moved the court for bail but CJM Rajput had rejected their bail plea on October 16, following which they had again sought it from the district judge and the pleas of the three were taken up together for hearing for the first time on October 29 by ADJ Singh. PTI CORR RAX RAX