The Delhi Police Tuesday partly supported a plea in the Delhi High Court challenging Congress MP Shashi Tharoor's move to bypass a magisterial court and directly approaching a sessions court for anticipatory bail in the death case of his wife Sunanda Pushkar.
The Delhi Police Tuesday partly supported a plea in the Delhi High Court challenging Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s move to bypass a magisterial court and directly approaching a sessions court for anticipatory bail in the death case of his wife Sunanda Pushkar. The plea by a lawyer has challenged the anticipatory bail granted to Tharoor in the case. Justice R K Gauba was told by Delhi Police Standing Counsel (Criminal) Rahul Mehra that Tharoor ought to have first gone to the magisterial court that had summoned him as an accused, to seek bail.
The court was hearing the petition filed by Delhi lawyer Deepak Anand challenging a trial court’s July 5 order granting anticipatory bail to Tharoor in the matter. Mehra, who was earlier asked by the court to assist in the matter, questioned the locus standi of the petitioner in filing the petition and said “I am supporting him provided he proves his locus”. He said faith has to be reposed in the trial court and an accused cannot directly approach a higher court bypassing the magisterial court. “Where is the reasonable apprehension that the moment you appear before the trial court, you will be arrested,” he said.
Tharoor, who has also been made a party in the plea, was represented by senior advocate Vikas Pahwa who also questioned the locus of the petitioner and maintainability of the plea. The counsel argued that Tharoor’s apprehension of arrest proved to be right when the police opposed his anticipatory bail plea before the sessions court. “Delhi Police has not challenged the bail order and the case is also sessions triable,” he said and cited the judgements of the Supreme Court on exercise of power by sessions court to grant anticipatory bail.
During the hearing, Anand argued that after filing of charge sheet, the trial court took cognisance and issued summons to Tharoor, a member of Parliament from Thiruvananthapuram. Instead of appearing before the court concerned, the Congress leader moved the court of an additional sessions judge which “erroneously” granted him bail, he said. At the outset, the judge expressed unhappiness over the petitioner for “trying to mislead the court” by not placing on record the available case laws on the issue.
The court said it could not digest that the issue of this nature was not covered by any case law till now and added that being and advocate, he was not an ordinary litigant but an officer of the court. The petitioner maintained that he was not trying to mislead the court. Delhi Police also filed a status report in the matter and the high court listed the petition for further proceedings on October 9.
Pushkar was found dead in a suite of a luxury hotel in the city on the night of January 17, 2014. The couple was staying in the hotel, as the official bungalow of Shashi Tharoor was being renovated at that time. The police filed the charge sheet against Tharoor for the alleged offences under sections 498A (husband or his relative subjecting a woman to cruelty) and 306 (abetment of suicide) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), but he has not been arrested in the case.
Urging the court to set aside the sessions court’s order granting anticipatory bail, the petition alleged that the relief was granted to Tharoor in utter disregard of the provisions of CrPC and by ignoring the law laid down by the Supreme Court. The plea claimed that the sessions court failed to appreciate that an application for anticipatory bail can be filed only during the period of probe and once the investigation is complete and charge sheet is filed by the probe agency, the law does not allow the accused to file such an application.
The sessions court in its July 5 order had noted that Tharoor has joined the investigation as and when called by the police. It had also observed that the police had not, at any point of time, alleged that he has tried to flee from justice or shift base to another country. It had noted that Tharoor was a sitting Member of Lok Sabha and used to be the Minister of State for External Affairs in the UPA government.