Sk. Supiyan @ Suffiyan @ Supisan vs The Central Bureau Of … on 9 February, 2022


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Supreme Court of India

Sk. Supiyan @ Suffiyan @ Supisan vs The Central Bureau Of … on 9 February, 2022

Author: L. Nageswara Rao

Bench: Ajay Rastogi, Abhay S. Oka

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                                                                     NON-REPORTABLE

                                       IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                                   CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                                  CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 198         OF 2022
                                       [@ SLP(Crl.)No. 9796 of 2021]


                      SK. SUPIYAN @ SUFFIYAN @ SUPISAN                …… APPELLANT

                                                          v.

                      THE CENTRAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION ……RESPONDENT


                                             J U D G M E N T

ABHAY S. OKA, J.

Leave granted.

1. The appellant is aggrieved by the impugned Order of the

High Court at Calcutta by which he was denied pre-arrest bail. The

appellant sought pre-arrest bail in connection with First Information

Report (FIR) registered at the Nandigram police station. One

Debabrata Maity sustained injuries on 3rd May 2021 in an alleged

incident of mob attack. He succumbed to injuries on 13th May 2021.
Signature Not Verified

Digitally signed by
Anita Malhotra
The FIR was registered for the offences punishable under Sections
Date: 2022.02.09
18:24:39 IST
Reason:

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147, 148, 149, 323, 325, 326, and 302 of the Indian Penal Code

(IPC) on 13th May 2021. The appellant was not named in the FIR.

2. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) took over the

investigation of the case on 30th August 2021. Though in September

2021, the appellant was called for investigation by CBI, in the first

charge sheet filed on 5th October 2021, the appellant was not named

as an accused. As the appellant received a notice from CBI to

remain present for investigation, on 25th October 2021, he filed a

petition for seeking anticipatory bail before the High Court. On 27th

October 2021, protection against arrest was granted by the High

Court to the appellant. The appellant was denied anticipatory bail by

the impugned Order dated 29th November 2021. A supplementary

charge sheet was filed on 6th January 2022 in which the appellant

was not named as an accused.

3. This Court by Order dated 28th January 2022, while granting

interim relief, directed the respondent-CBI to produce copies of

statements of the witnesses recorded under Section 164 of the Code

of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (for short ‘CrPC’) on which the

respondent-CBI was relying upon. Accordingly, copies of the

statements of 18 witnesses recorded under Section 161 of CrPC, as
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well as copies of 5 witnesses recorded under Section 164 CrPC have

been placed on record.

4. Shri Kapil Sibal, the learned Senior Counsel appearing for

the appellant pointed out that the appellant was not even named in

the two charge sheets filed by CBI on 5th October 2021 and 6th

January 2022 respectively. He invited our attention to the

statements of witnesses recorded by CBI under Section 164 of

CrPC. He pointed out that the first statement relied upon is of one

Ranjit Maity. The statement was recorded on 7th September 2021 in

which the witness merely stated that he has heard that the appellant

was the main leader of the incident. He pointed out that though the

statement was recorded on 7th September 2021, in both the charge

sheets subsequently filed by CBI, the appellant was not named as an

accused. He pointed out that after the application for grant of

anticipatory bail was filed by the appellant, statement of one Sulekha

Bogri was recorded on 18th November 2021 in which she stated that

the incident happened under the leadership of the appellant. He

submitted that though witness Ranjit Maity deposed that the

appellant was not present at the time of the incident, the version of

Sulekha is to the contrary. He pointed out that the statement under

Section 164 of CrPC of witnesses Manoj Kumar Bera was recorded
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on 18th November 2021. The statements of Ashish Das and

Bishwajit Panda were belatedly recorded on 24th January 2022. He

pointed out that the said three witnesses are not named in both the

charge sheets as witnesses. He submitted that on the face of it, the

statement of witness Manoj Kumar Bera cannot be believed. The

reason is that for the first time in November 2021, he deposed that

on 3rd May 2021, the appellant and some other persons ransacked

his house and assaulted his mother and wife. He pointed out that

the said witness never complained till 18th November 2021 about the

incident. He also pointed out that the said witness who was at

Village Tarachandbar claims that he heard loud noises from Village

Chillagram which is at a distance of 5 km from village Tarachand

Bask. He pointed out that in the statements belatedly recorded on

24th January 2022, the other two witnesses Ashish Das and Bishwajit

Panda have tried to ascribe a role to the appellant.

5. Shri Sibal urged that CBI tried to implicate the appellant for

political reasons as the appellant was the election agent of the Chief

Minister of West Bengal in the Vidhan Sabha Elections held in 2021.

He submitted that most of the witnesses are workers of the Bharatiya

Janata Party and for obvious political reasons, the appellant is

sought to be falsely implicated. He invited our attention to the media
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reports about the statements made by one Suvendu Adhikari, who is

a leader of BJP who contested election against the Chief Minister. In

the said statements made by him in October 2021, he stated that the

appellant would be named by the investigating agency and will be

arrested. He pointed out that now the respondent-CBI wants to rely

upon offences registered against the appellant in the year 2007

relating to agitations at Nandigram. He pointed out that the cases of

2007 were withdrawn by the State Government by invoking Section

321 of CrPC. But, the order of withdrawal was stayed by the High

Court of Calcutta. He pointed out that this Court by the Order dated

26th March 2021 has stayed the operation of the order passed by the

High Court of Calcutta on the ground that the High Court did not give

an opportunity of being heard to the appellant. The learned Senior

Counsel by relying upon observations of this Court in the case of

Shri Gurbaksh Singh Sibbia and Others v. the State of Punjab1

submitted that this is a case where the process of criminal law is tried

to be perverted for achieving extraneous ends and, therefore, the

appellant deserves to be granted pre-arrest bail.

6. Shri Aman Lekhi, the learned Additional Solicitor General of

India urged that this is a case of a serious offence punishable under

Section 302 of IPC and therefore, custodial interrogation of the
1 (1980) 2 SCC 565
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appellant is necessary. Relying upon statements of the witnesses

recorded under Section 164 of CrPC, he urged that looking into the

seriousness of the allegations, the appellant does not deserve the

protection of pre-arrest bail. He submitted that merely because there

is some delay in recording the statements of the witnesses, the

appellant cannot be protected considering the seriousness of the

offence.

7. Shri P.S. Patwalia, the learned Senior Counsel appearing

for the complainant invited our attention to reasons recorded by the

High Court for denying pre-arrest bail. He submitted that the High

Court has rightly applied well-settled law governing the grant of

anticipatory bail. Accordingly, by considering the gravity of the

offence and material in the form of statements of the witnesses under

Section 164 of CrPC, the relief has been rightly denied to the

appellant.

8. We have considered the submissions. The incident is of 3rd

May 2021. Though two charge sheets have been filed on 5th

October 2021 and 9th January 2022, the appellant has not been

named as an accused therein. Now, the respondent-CBI is relying

upon statements of 5 witnesses recorded under Section 164 of

CrPC. The statements of the first two witnesses were recorded on
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7th September 2021 and 11th November 2021 respectively. But the

appellant was not named in both the charge sheets filed thereafter.

Though the statement of Shri Manoj Kumar Bera was recorded on

18th November 2021, he was not cited as a witness in the first two

charge sheets. The statements of the other two witnesses have

been belatedly recorded on 24th January 2022.

9. Considering the peculiar facts of the case, we are of the view

that the appellant deserves to be granted pre-arrest bail. However,

the appellant will have to fully cooperate with the respondent-CBI for

investigation and will have to remain present for investigation as and

when called upon by the investigating officer.

10. Accordingly, the impugned Order is set aside. Pre-arrest bail

is granted to the appellant in connection with Case No. RC

0562021S0032 of CBI arising out of Nandigram PS Case No. 224 of

2021, on the conditions incorporated in clauses (i) to (iii) of sub-

section (2) of Section 438 CrPC. The appellant shall fully cooperate

for investigation and shall remain present for investigation as and

when called upon by the respondent-CBI. We make it clear that the

pre-arrest bail granted to the appellant is liable to be cancelled if it is

found that the appellant is not cooperating for the investigation. We
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further make it clear that we have not made any adjudication on the

merits of the controversy.

11. The appeal is disposed of in the above terms. All the

pending applications, if any, stand disposed of.

…….……..…………………J
(L. NAGESWARA RAO)

…………..…………………J
(ABHAY S. OKA)
New Delhi;

February 09, 2022.



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