The discretion to grant bail cannot be exercised if the role of the accused is not yet unfurled and still requires to be investigated in the case: Jammu and Kashmir High Court

The accused cannot claim bail as a matter of right. The rule of bail and not jail cannot be pressed into service in the case of the applicant. Each case has its own peculiarities and circumstances which are required to be looked into while considering bail. This was held in the judgment passed by a single judge bench comprising of HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE PUNEET GUPTA in the matter of Mohd. Toyab V. UT of Jammu and Kashmir and others [Bail Appl. No. 14/2020], dealt with an issue where the petitioner filed a petition seeking bail as he has been booked for commission of offence under Section 420/120-B RPC in F.I.R initially registered with Police Station, Rajouri.

The bail is sought on the ground that the accused has not committed any offence as he was only appointed as agent of M/s Hablas-e-Commerce Pvt. Ltd. and in case the applicant has collected money on behalf of the investors it was for the company and not in individual capacity.

Further it is contended that the charge-sheet has been presented against the accused in the Court of law and in case any further recovery is to be made from the accused the same can be fruitful in case he is out of custody. It is further argued that some of the accused have been granted bail by the Court of learned Chief judicial Magistrate, Poonch in another related F.I.R having same allegations therein. Lastly, it is submitted that the accused is entitled to bail in view of the directions asked by the Apex Court on account of extra ordinary situation prevailing because of COVID-19 pandemic.

The bail application has been opposed on the ground that the complicity of the accused is direct in the case as he had not only made the depositors to deposit the amount with the company but also utilized the same as is evident from the bank accounts of the applicant. The amount of more than Rs. 12 Crore was collected by deception from the investors by the company and their agents as is revealed by the investigations as of now.

The investigation is still going on in the case. It is also submitted that the accused in the case are having no permission from RBI to collect the cash deposits nor having licence from any of the authorized authority to run the business. The company is a total fraud as per the reports. The involvement of other employees whose names surfaced during interrogation and the losses suffered by the depositors is being worked out. In case the accused is released on bail he can tamper with the evidence.

After hearing both sides, the Hon’ble High Court of Jammu and Kashmir dismissed the petition and held that the Court does not find substantial change of circumstances to grant bail to the accused after the dismissal of the earlier application filed by the applicant for bail.

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Judgement reviewed by – Vaishnavi Raman

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