The Supreme Court on Monday granted bail to an accused languishing in jail in connection with Telgi stamp papers scam for more than six years due to the failure of CBI to get the trial initiated.
"He has been in jail for more than six years. You (CBI) have not started the trial. Certainly, he is entitled to bail," a bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan said while granting bail to Dilip Pandurang Kamat.
Kamat, who was assistant police inspector at Dharavi police station in Mumbai, was arrested on June 13, 2003 and was booked under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) on the charge of money laundering in connivance with Abdul Karim Telgi.
While opposing his bail, Additional Solicitor General Haren Raval said he is a prime accused in the case along with Telgi and the apex court had on June 30, 2006, rejected his bail applications.
However, this submission did not impress the Bench which questioned CBI for delaying the trial.
"Bail application can be filed any number of times. We are not bound by earlier orders," the Bench, also comprising Justices Deepak Verma and B S Chauhan, said.
"What is the problem with the trial?" the Bench told CBI. Noting that there are 800 witnesses in the case, the court said "a person cannot spend life time in jail waiting for the trial".
It granted bail to Kamat asking him to furnish two sureties of like amount to the satisfaction of the Special Court in Pune where the case is pending. The accused is lodged in a jail in Mumbai. Besides MCOCA, he has been charged under Indian penal code (IPC) on the charge of forgery and cheating.