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Soren granted bail by Jharkhand HC

September 03, 2004 15:35 IST
Last Updated: September 03, 2004 17:54 IST

Jharkhand Mukti Morcha chief and former Union coal minister Sibu Soren on Friday secured a conditional bail from the Jharkand high court, a month after surrendering before a Jamtara court in connection with the Chirrudih massacre case.

"Let the accused face trial... he is enlarged on bail," Justice Tapen Sen said after Soren's counsel R K Jain told the bench that he was prepared to give an undertaking that his client would appear in person before the court.

Granting bail, Justice Sen asked Soren to surrender his passport, if any, not leave the country without the permission of the court and unless exempted by the court, and appear in person each and every date.

Justice Sen also warned Soren that his bail would be cancelled if the court found him tampering with evidence or influencing the witnesses.

Jain later told reporters that Soren was granted bail on furnishing two surety bonds each amounting to Rs 1.5 lakh.

Soren is in judicial custody since August 2 when he surrendered before a Jamtara court.

While on August 13 the first additional district and session judge in Giridih rejected Soren's bail in connection with a 1974 murder case, the Jamtara District and Session Court quashed his bail application on August 2 in connection with 1975 Chirrudih massacre.

When justice Sen repeated to surrender Soren's passport, the petitioner's counsel said the document was with the CBI, which was investigating another case.

Pleading for bail on both the cases, Soren's counsel questioned why action was initiated in these cases pending over 30 years and suddenly terming him as absconder when he was a minister.

He told the court that action had not been taken when Soren was the chairman of Jharkhand Area Autonomous Committee -- a post equivalent to that of deputy chief minister in the early 1990s.

He also cited how eight of the ten accused in the Chirrudih murder case had been acquitted and that the prosecution would place the same evidence and witnesses during Soren's trial.

Pulling up the prosecution lawyer, R R Mishra, Justice Sen asked what the state machinery was doing for 30 years and why Soren was not arrested.

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