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Freedom imminent for Sobhraj

Freedom from jail appeared imminent for Charles Sobhraj, with a Delhi court allowing the public prosecutor to withdraw the 1986 jail break case against the French national and about a dozen others.

The other accused in the case included lawyer Sneh Sengar, businessman Rajinder Sethia and some jail officials. The order allowing the withdrawal of the case was passed by Additional Sessions Judge Y S Jonwal.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Prem Kumar, meanwhile, deferred till February 24 hearing in Sobhraj's contempt petition against Deputy Commissioner of Police Pradeep Srivastava. The petition had been filed immediately after the police restricted the French national's movements when he was coming out of court on being released on bail.

Judge Jonwal disposed of Sobhraj's application seeking permission to go to France for six months, stating that this had become infructuous.

In a five-page order, the judge dealt at length with rival contentions. ''I am satisfied that the learned special public prosecutor has move the present application after applying his mind and his decision to move it is not a result of political pressure and was based on relevant considerations mentioned in the application," he observed.

The judge in his order further noticed that the revision petition filed by some co-accused in the high court would not come in the way of deciding the present application because ''there is no stay order from the honourable high court and no prejudice will be caused to the accused.''

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