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Former Maharashtra minister Atram gets bail in chinkara case

September 08, 2008 16:55 IST

A Sessions court in Pune granted bail on Monday, to former Maharashtra minister Dharmarao Baba Atram, charged with killing a Chinkara under the Wildlife Act.

Pronouncing his order Additional Sessions judge Sanjay Patil directed the accused not to leave the country without permission of the court and not to tamper with evidence and witnesses in the case.

Atram and five other accused, who too were granted bail, were asked to furnish surety of Rs 20,000. The judge who heard arguments of the defence counsel and public prosecutor for and against the grant of bail on Saturday had deferred the order till Monday.

The judge also instructed the accused to report regularly at the Magistrate's court at Saswad where he was first produced after being arrested on August 30 by Forest Department officials and remanded to judicial custody.

Atram had resigned from the state cabinet as an Nationalist Congress Party minister after the June 14 poaching episode that took place in the forest bordering Bhor and Baramati talukas in Pune district.

The prosecution opposing his bail plea had described him as a "habitual offender" who, if released on bail, would also use his influence to tamper with the witnesses in the case.

Defence counsel Dhairyasheel Patil, who pressed the bail plea told the court that the state Forest Department which was investigating the case had already filed a charge-sheet running into 900 pages and hence there was no need to detain the former minister for custodial interrogation.

The counsel also cited medical condition of Atram as a supporting ground for grant of bail. Atram's anticipatory bail application had earlier been rejected by Bombay High Court which directed him to surrender before Forest officials on August 28.

After his interrogation and arrest at Bhor on August 30, Atram spent three days in the government Sassoon hospital in Pune undergoing various tests complaining of "uneasiness". The doctors discharged him on September two and he was taken to Yerawada prison the same evening.

Other accused whose bail plea was allowed are´┐ŻMahesh Biramane, Suresh Biramane, Sayyad Ali, Ravindra Wadkar and Ankush Sanas.




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