Brake on bail nod in Madan case

The Telegraph


Darjeeling, June 18: Calcutta High Court has directed the Darjeeling district and sessions court to refrain from confirming the interim bail of four Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leaders accused in the Madan Tamang murder case till the high court passes an order on an appeal for the revision of the bail judgment.

Legal experts said an accused could be granted interim bail under certain conditions and once it is confirmed, the restrictions may be lifted. The high court passed the order on Saturday on the appeal by Madan Tamang’s wife Bharati for the revision of bail to the four.

The district and sessions court had granted interim bail to Alok Kant Mani Thulung, Kismat Chhetri, Keshav Raj Pokhrel and Puran Thami on May 18. While Thulung is the president of the Morcha’s youth front, Thami is the general secretary. Chhetri and Pokhrel are the president and general secretary of the Morcha’s student wing, respectively.

The names of the four figure in the chargesheet filed by the CID. They were arrested on February 15, 2013, by the CBI which has taken over the probe. Madan was assassinated on May 21, 2010.

Pratap Khati, the general secretary of the ABGL and also a lawyer, said: “Bharati Tamang had on June 13 sought a revision of the order passed by the Darjeeling district and sessions court. On June 15, Calcutta High Court passed an order stating that the bail of the four accused should not be confirmed until it passes an order on Bharati’s appeal for the cancellation of the interim bail.”

The four Morcha leaders were given interim bail on conditions that they must not leave Darjeeling and should report to the investigating officer every fortnight. Moreover, the interim bail has been granted for a certain period and needs to be renewed. The district and sessions court today extended the interim bail for the four till July 8.

However, if the interim bail is confirmed by the court, then the four will not be bound by any conditions and they would not have to seek the extension of the bail repeatedly.

A total of 31 Morcha activists were named in the chargesheet and 14 of them are at present on bail.

Khati said Bharati’s appeal for the cancellation of the bail was likely to be listed for hearing soon.

Seshmani Gurung, a defence counsel, said: “We have not yet seen the order and we are not appealing for confirmation of the bail. We are satisfied by the interim bail order. The trial is expected to start soon and once the trial starts, the interim bail will be automatically confirmed.”

Gurung said the district and sessions court had already transferred the case of the 14 accused who were currently on bail to the additional session judge (third court) for trial.

“The trial court has asked all the 14 to appear on July 21. After they appear, the court will set a date for the prosecution (CBI) to frame the charges. After that, the trial is expected to start,” said Gurung.


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