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Delhi land scam: Ashok Malhotra, others get interim bail
November 06, 2007 20:40 IST
A Delhi court on Tuesday granted bail to Chhole bhature vendor Ashok Malhotra and seven others in the multi-crore land scam case, a day after the Central Bureau of Investigation filed six chargesheets against the accused.
However, the court said that the investigating agency had failed to justify its plea for extending the custody of the accused.
Additional Sessions Judge S K Kaushik granted interim bail to the accused, including Malhotra, till November 22 and said, "CBI has been unable to adduce satisfactory reply to the queries put by the defence."
The judge took note of the defence contention that the CBI had no explanation for its decision to keep Malhotra and A K Mishra, another accused, in custody when the other five accused, including Delhi Assembly official Lal Mani, were not even arrested.
The court ordered the release of Malhotra and Mishra on interim bail, after furnishing a bail bond of Rs one lakh each and a surety of equal amount.
"Considering that five public servants (accused) were not even arrested by the CBI and Lal Mani, who is alleged to have forged valuable securities on the basis of which plots were released by the Delhi Development Authority, was also not arrested, I order that Malhotra and Mishra be released on interim bail till November 22," the court said.
The court accepted the defence argument that the filing of the chargesheet on Monday suggested that the CBI had completed investigations in the land scam case. Therefore, there was no valid ground to keep Malhotra in custody.
Kaushik said there was a "presumption of innocence" in favour of Malhotra after the filing of the chargesheet.