The Supreme Court quashed the bail granted to former Member of Parliament and Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav in the Ajit Sarkar murder case and slammed the Patna high court for violating its order on Monday.
A bench of Justices Markandey Katju and A K Patnaik said the high court's decision amounted to contempt of the apex court, which had clearly restrained any court in the country from granting bail to Yadav.
"It is a matter of regret that despite clear order passed by this court in 2007 that no bail should be granted by any court, the high court has gone ahead and granted bail," the bench observed while allowing an appeal filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation seeking cancellation of the bail.
The CBI had on March 26 approached the apex court challenging the Patna high court's February 18, 2009, order granting bail to the 43-year-old RJD leader undergoing life imprisonment in the murder case.
The apex court said that it is a general rule that when the apex court rejects the bail, the high courts or the subordinate courts cannot in any manner grant bail to the accused or the convicts.
Similarly, when the high court rejects a bail, the sessions courts or the magistrates do not have any power to grant bail, it said.
But in the present case, the bench regretted that the high court granted bail to Yadav despite an injunction by the apex court.
Earlier, Additional Solicitor General Haren Raval complained that the high court granted bail to the RJD leader without passing any reasoned order after initially rejecting his two bail applications.
Special CBI judge B M Srivastava had on February 14, 2008, pronounced Yadav, former independent Member of Legislative Assembly Rajan Tiwari and Anil Yadav guilty and awarded them jail terms for life.
Ajit Sarkar, a firebrand Communist Party of India-Marxist MLA, who had a running feud with Pappu Yadav over issues relating to farm labourers, along with his driver Harendra Sharma and party worker Ashfaqur Rehman, were gunned down at Subhas Nagar in Purnea town on June 14, 1998.
The case was taken up by the CBI following a recommendation of the Bihar government.
The CBI had chargesheeted Yadav, Rajan Tiwari, Anil Yadav, Harish Chaudhary and Amar Yadav on May 10, 1999.
The trial in the case began on August 2, 2002 and concluded on February four, last year.
Yadav was convicted under sections 302 (murder) and 120 (b) (criminal conspiracy) of IPC for plotting the murder of Sarkar which was executed by Rajan Tiwari and others.A total of 61 witnesses were presented by the prosecution of which 23 had turned hostile. Twenty-seven witnesses deposed for the defence.