The Orissa High Court granted bail to Archana Nag, the prime accused in a high-profile blackmailing case.

The Bench of Justice V. Narasingh said that “Taking into account the nature of allegation, period of custody, punishment prescribed, keeping in view the guidelines of the Apex Court in the case of Satender Kumar Antil vrs. Central Bureau of Investigation & another, reported in 2021 (10) SCC 773 and welfare of six year old child of the Petitioner, this Court directs her release on bail.”

Advocate P.P. Behera appeared for the petitioner and ASC K.K. Gaya appeared for the Opposite Party.

In this case, the appellant-accused was arrested for offences punishable under Sections 384, 385, 506, 120-B, 388, 389, 500 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) and Section 67, 67-E, 67-A of the Information Technology Act (IT Act). The appellant was accused of allegedly running a sex racket that used to extort money from rich and influential men including politicians.

The appellant's bail application was rejected by Additional District Magistrate, aggrieved of which the appellant moved the High Court.

The Counsel for the petitioner submitted that there was no material on record to substantiate the allegation under the IT Act. Therefore, further continuance of the Petitioner in custody was not warranted and in fact punitive.

On the other hand, counsel for the State submitted that the investigation was kept open under Section 173(8) of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (CrPC). Hence, the Petitioner ought not be released on bail at this point as this would derail the ongoing investigation.

The Court said that the charge sheet was filed by the police long ago, and since then nothing had been placed on record regarding further investigation.

The Court granted the bail and further directed the petitioner to cooperate with the ongoing investigation and directed to not leave the State of Odisha without permission of the Court in seisin and should not try to threaten or intimidate any of the prosecution witnesses.

Accordingly, the application was disposed of.

Cause Title- Archana Nag v. State of Odisha

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