New Delhi Aug 17(ILNS): The Supreme Court, today, deferred the hearing till August 24 in a criminal forgery case, involving Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan’s son, Mohammad Abdullah Azam Khan.
The apex court instructed Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Abdullah Azam, that a joint trial would be beneficial. Mr. Sibal sought time to consider and thus the Court deferred the matter to August 24.
The issue today before the Court concerned the holding of joint trial in multiple FIRs filed against Mohammad Azam Khan and his son. Mr. S. V. Raju, appearing for the State, submitted that the accused should give affidavits, stating that they will not challenge the joint trial subsequently.
The apex court tried to impress upon Mr. Sibal that a joint trial would be convenient. Mr. Sibal submitted that in the main FIR, the accused was not charged with Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code, but a supplementary charge sheet was submitted much later. His submissions were that he was arguing for discharge applications in proceedings emanating from other FIRs and that a joint trial may prejudice his rights.
It was noted that if the joint trial would be done, all the issues would be clubbed and the main FIR could be a mother FIR. The Court said that at best, statements would be recorded.
The Court suggested Mr. Sibal consider the joint trial and for that, the affidavits of the consent of all the accused are provided.
Earlier, on August 10, bail was granted to Samajwadi Party leader Mohammad Abdullah Azam Khan and his son in a criminal case. The Supreme Court directed that they will be released on bail after the Trial Court concerned in the state of Uttar Pradesh records the informant’s statement in the case within four weeks.
The Special Leave Petition challenged Allahabad High Court’s rejection of three bail applications, saying that it will not be in the public interest.
The bail pleas were filed by senior SP Leader Md Azam Khan and his disqualified U.P. MLA son, who was arrested in a case of cheating, forgery, and obtaining a fake PAN card fraudulently for the latter.
The FIR has been filed under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471, and 120B of IPC and Section 12(1A) of Passport Act, 1967 at the Police Station, Civil Lines, district Rampur. It was submitted that the birth records as per the High School certificate and the nomination application filed for contesting 34 Swar Assembly Constituency, Rampur recording another date of birth, though, it is alleged that at the time of filing of nomination paper, the subsequent PAN was not linked with the bank account. It is alleged that the father-son duo conspired together for filing nomination papers by mentioning the wrong PAN.
Mr Sibal, Senior Advocate appeared on behalf of the appellants while seeking bail submitted that, “There are 87 FIRs are being filed against them, as if these people do not have anything else to do in Uttar Pradesh and interestingly, in 84 FIRs, bail has been granted by the court. Such multiplicity of FIR clearly shows that the allegations charged against them are baseless.”
ASG S. V. Raju stated that bail should not be granted to the appellants as the witnesses are scared of them and they can easily tamper with the evidence required in the investigation. He also stated that the SP Leader has filed Income tax using an incorrect PAN card, to which the apex court replied that the income tax matter is not the concern here. It was also submitted by the state that appellants are habitual offenders. Azam Khan has criminal antecedents of 91 cases commencing since 1982, whereas his son faces 44 cases, most of them pertaining to fraud and forgery. A large piece of land belonging to the Central and State Government has also allegedly been usurped by the appellants and transferred to a private trust by manipulating revenue records, waqf deeds, and other documents.
After hearing all the contentions, the bench held, “The investigation for the second offense has been completed and the charge sheet has been filed on August 27, 2020, and the trial court has taken cognizance for the offense, continuing detention of the appellants may not be necessary for the purpose of investigation. The appellant is being released on bail in connection with the offense, they must abide by all the conditions as imposed by the trial court for releasing them including the influence of the witnesses and tamper shreds of evidence.”
The Apex court also states that “The prosecution must make sure that the informant should be present in the court on 16th August when the recording of the statement may proceed subject to an order to be passed on discharge application which is to be heard on 11th August 2021. As aforesaid, the recording of evidence should be completed within 4weeks from today and compliance report submitted to this court in that regard within the same.”ILNS/KR/SNG