Judges differ on granting bail to Ashok Todi

Written by Political Bureau | Kolkata | Updated: Dec 9 2008, 07:09am hrs
The judges of a division bench, hearing the bail application of businessman Ashok Todi, differed on the decision of granting bail to the accused in the Rizwanur Rehman murder case. The application will now be referred to chief justice SS Nijjar.

In a related development, the CBI court remanded Pradip Todi and Anil Saraogi in jail custody till December 12.

The bail application of Ashok Todi came up for hearing in the division bench of justices Amit Talukdar and PS Banerjee on Monday. After the hearing, Talukdar was in favour of granting bail to Ashok Todi. According to him, since the Supreme Court had stayed the trial of the case, there was no reason for detaining Todi any further.

Talukdar said that CBI never arrested Todi during the investigation. There had been no allegations of tampering with evidence during the investigation against Ashok Todi, he added.

After the order by Talukdar, justice PS Banerjee disagreed with the decision, saying, the nature and consequences of Todi's offence were serious. He pointed out that Todi was the principal accused in this case and cannot get a bail on medical ground.

In accordance with the earlier order, the superintendent of Presidency Jail on Monday placed a report on Ashok Todi's health. It said that Todi was sick but not bedridden, and now he is in good health.

Opposing the bail, Rehman family advocate counsel Kalyan Banerjee argued that Ashok Todi had spent Rs 11 lakh to dissolve the marriage of his daughter, Priyanka. On the other hand, Ashok Todi's counsel advocate Jaymalya Bagchi pleaded for his client's bail.

In line with the legal procedure, the bail application of Todi will have to be placed before chief justice SS Nijjar now. He will assign the case to a third judge for disposal.

Meanwhile, the legal circle was split on the issue. Barrister Pradosh Mallick said it was an unusual occurrence in a bail plea. "No comment can be made until I go through the opinion of the two justices," he said.

Advocate Shekhar Bose said: ''Undoubtedly it was an unusual development. But difference of opinion between judges on a bail application is not that rare.''

In compliance with the Supreme Court order, Pradip Todi and Anil Saraogi surrendered on Monday before the magistrate of CBI court,

Anupam Maity. He remanded them in jail custody till December 12. Following Monday's developments, four of the seven accused in the case- Ashok Todi, Pradip Todi, Anil Saraogi and Pappu- are in jail custody at present.