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The antecedents of the petitioner is a very important factor which has to be kept in mind before deciding an application for anticipatory bail: High Court of Delhi

Court must consider the seriousness of the offence, the nature of investigation that is required, the likelihood of the petitioner’s absconding from justice, the antecedents of the accused and chances of the petitioner tampering with evidence or threatening the witnesses before granting an anticipatory bail as held by the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi through the learned bench lead by Justice Subramonium Prasad in the case of Kala Ram @Kamlesh v. State (BAIL APPLN. 3693/2021 & CRL.M.A. 16147/2021)

The brief facts of the case are that the complainant Chintu Gupta, states that he has been working as a cash delivery boy. He got a call from Nitesh Jain to collect a sum of Rs.32.5 lacs. As per the instructions, the complainant collected the said amount of money from the said address and kept it in a bag while he was going towards his destination. It is stated that two persons came on a Red & Black Coloured TVS scooty and tried to snatch the bag from the complainant and when the complainant resisted, they pushed the complainant and the pillion rider pointed a pistol like weapon on the complainant and threatened him to hand over the bag. It is stated that the amount of Rs.32.5 lacs, complainant’s keys and his Aadhar Card was taken by the two persons and they both fled away from the spot. Subsequently, the instant FIR has been registered for offences punishable under Sections 392/34 IPC.

The petitioner filed an application under Section 438 Cr.P.C, before the Sessions Court, seeking anticipatory bail. However, the same was dismissed by the learned Additional Sessions Judge. The learned ASJ has observed that the petitioner has the previous involvements. It is also stated that the co-accused – Ravi Gupta, gave details of the plan hatched by both of them before the commission of the present crime. The petitioner, thereafter, filed the instant bail application under Section 438 Cr.P.C before this Court for grant of bail to the petitioner in the event of arrest.

Learned counsel appearing for the petitioner contended that no location charts have been prepared by the investigating agency to connect the petitioner with the alleged offence. The petitioner was driving previous scooty and he did not use the said weapon as stated in the complaint. That there are no CCTV footages of the alleged incident. It is further contended by the learned counsel for the petitioner that merely on the strength of a disclosure statement of the co-accused, the petitioner cannot be denied anticipatory bail. Learned counsel further relies upon a Judgment of Hon’ble Supreme Court in Prabhakar Tewari vs. State of U.P. & ANR. to contend that the severity of the allegations alone cannot be a ground for rejecting the anticipatory bail.

Mr. Amit Chadha, learned APP for the State, contended that the investigation has revealed the complicity of the petitioner in the alleged crime. He stated that on the disclosure of the co-accused, the keys and the Aadhar Card of the complainant have been recovered 15 Kilometres away from the place of alleged incident. He states that there are CCTV footages of the petitioner and the co-accused, who went to Rajasthan after committing the alleged offence and stayed in a hotel. He further states that the petitioner is a habitual offender and has involved in total six (6) other cases in Delhi, including three cases with the co-accused. He further states that the Call Detail Records (CDRs) disclose that the petitioner was continuously in touch with the co-accused – Ravi Gupta. Therefore, states that the custodial interrogation of the petitioner is required in this case.

After hearing both the parties at length, the Hon’ble High Court held, “The petitioner and the co-accused are involved in three more cases. The antecedents of the petitioner is a very important factor which has to be kept in mind before deciding an application for anticipatory bail. The petitioner is evading arrest and the chances of the petitioner threatening the complainant or tampering with evidence cannot be ruled out. This Court, therefore, is of the opinion that the petitioner is not entitled to the benefit of bail in the event of arrest. Custodial interrogation of the petitioner is required for unearthing the plans hatched by the petitioner and the co-accused and the way the plan was executed and also for the recovery of money. Accordingly, the application stands dismissed

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Judgment reviewed by Vandana Ragwani

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