Days after walking out of jail following grant of interim bail by the Supreme Court, senior Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan told reporters in Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur on Sunday night that a police officer had threatened him with an encounter after his release.
“When an Inspector can threaten in the jail, ‘go underground, you have several cases against you, you can get encountered,’ then it is difficult to say what my journey is, in the face of such dangers,” said Khan.
Having remained in custody for over two years, Khan was eventually released from the Sitapur district jail on Friday after he was granted bail in an alleged cheating case.
The Supreme Court had invoked special powers granted by the Constitution under Article 142 to order Khan’s release, while citing “peculiar” circumstances related to the case. Khan, who was facing prosecution in 88 cases, had already been granted bail in the remaining 87 cases.
“The petitioner is directed to be released on interim bail in respect of FIR being Case Crime No.70 of 2020, registered with Police Station Kotwali, Rampur, Uttar Pradesh for the offences punishable under Sections 420 (cheating) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code on such terms and conditions as found appropriate by the trial court,” a bench led by Justice L Nageswara Rao said in its order.
Calling him a “land grabber” and a “habitual offender”, the Uttar Pradesh government had objected to Khan’s bail petition. Khan was arrested after an FIR was slapped against him on alleged cases of land grabbing and misappropriation of public funds of over hundreds of crores of rupees. The apex court pointed out that it was travesty of justice after Khan’s bail hearing was getting delayed.
In 2019, a case of forgery was filed against Khan and his family over a birth certificate concerning his son Abdullah. Few months later, the Allahabad High Court ordered a stay on their arrest until the police investigation was completed.