The Calcutta high court on Thursday rejected the bail prayer of Haldiram Bhujia owner Prabhu Shankar Agarwal who was sentenced to life imprisonment for conspiring to murder a tea stall owner whose shop came in the way of a food plaza the dry snacks baron was building.
A division bench comprising Justice S P Talukdar and Justice M K Sinha rejected the bail prayer of Agarwal who is in jail since he was awarded life imprisonment by a fast track court on January 29.
Agarwal's counsel Bikash Bhattacharya submitted the dispute was civil in nature and that he was already in possession of the piece of land in front of the upcoming plaza in the city's business district Burrabazar.
Opposing the bail prayer, public prosecutor Asimesh Goswami said it had been proved before the sessions court that Agarwal was the key conspirator to kill the tea stall owner and the question of civil dispute did not arise. Judge Tapan Sen of Bankshall Court had awarded the sentence to Agarwal, history-sheeters Gopal Tiwari, Arun Khandelwal, Manoj Sharma and Raju Sonkar under Section 120 B (criminal conspiracy) besides 10 years rigorous prison terms under section 307/34 (attempt to murder/common intention).
Tiwari, who had pulled the trigger, was also found guilty under the Arms Act and sentenced to seven years under one section and three years under another.
Agarwal, owner of the multi crore food and confectionery chain which has outlets in many cities and also in London and elsewhere, had failed to persuade tea stall owner Satyanarayan Sharma to move out as the shop would spoil the facade of the food plaza he was constructing.
His hired goons had then raided the shop looking for Satyanarayan, but not finding him, shot his nephew Pramod Sharma, injuring him seriously on March 30, 2005.
Agarwal, who was in London to open his first overseas food plaza at the time of the attack, was arrested when he returned home two months later.
Agarwal was arrested at IGI Airport in Delhi as soon as he landed and was handed over to the Kolkata Police.
Tiwari was arrested from Hyderabad, where he was hiding, while the other accused persons were arrested in Kolkata. The prosecution, during the trial, submitted Tiwari and his henchmen had embarked on the murder bid at the behest of Agarwal.