Supreme Court Grants Bail To Two Men Accused Of Murdering A Sitting MLA & A Former MLA
The Supreme Court has granted bail to two accused in the case wherein Kidari Sarveswara Rao, a member of the Legislative Assembly and one Siveri Soma, a former MLA belonging to Telugu Desam Party, were killed.
The Court reiterated that discovery of fact under Section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act must relate to the commission of some offence and granted bail to appellants-accused. The Court added that there were no reasonable grounds for believing that the accusations against the appellants were prima facie proved.
The Bench of Justice Abhay S. Oka and Justice Rajesh Bindal observed that "...The first condition for the applicability of Section 27 is that the information given by the accused must lead to the discovery of the fact, which is the direct outcome of such information. Only such portion of the information given as is distinctly connected with the said discovery is admissible against the accused."
The Bench further said that "...Taking the material against the appellants as it is and without considering the defence of the appellants, we are unable to form an opinion that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the accusations against the appellants of commission of offence under the UAPA are prime facie true. Hence, the embargo on the grant of bail under proviso to subsection (5) of Section 43D will not apply in this case."
Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves appeared for the appellants and ASG K.M. Nataraj appeared for the respondents.
The case of the appellants was that the appellants along with other co- accused were being prosecuted for the offences punishable under Section 120B read with Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, Sections 18, 19, 20 and 39 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA). The appellants were also charged with offences punishable under Sections 4 and 5 of the Explosives Substances Act, 1908 (Act).
The MLA and Ex-MLA of Telugu Desam Party were killed when both of them were proceeding to village Sarai to attend a function. The 45 accused persons, who belonged to the Communist Party of India (Maoist), a terrorist organisation, stopped the convoy of vehicles of the two leaders and killed them by three gunshots.
FIR was lodged, chargesheet was filed against 79 accused persons. Some of them absconded and the appellants were in custody for the last four years and seven months. The appellant approached the Apex Court for grant of bail which was rejected by the Andhra Pradesh High Court.
The Counsel for the appellant alleged that the recovery of landmine done at the instance of appellant no.1- accused no. 46 was highly suspicious as there was no evidence to show that the alleged landmines had any connection with the offence of killing the two leaders.
On the other hand, the counsel for the respondents contended that the landmine was discovered at the instance of the appellant near the village where the deceased political leaders were to visit.
The Apex Court said that under Section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act, only such portion of the information given by the accused was admissible against the accused as was distinctly connected with the said discovery.
“The Panchnama shows that the accused no.46 took them to a place and showed landmine. There is no confessional statement made by him giving information that he is in a position to show the place where he had planted landmine. Therefore, prima facie, “the Mediators’ Report and Seizure Panchnama” is not helpful to the prosecution in proving that the landmine was discovered at the instance of the accused no.46.” noted the Apex Court.
Therefore, the Apex Court said that “As narrated earlier, the appellants are in custody for four and half years. The charge has not been framed and the prosecution proposes to examine more than 140 witnesses. Some of the accused are absconding. Thus, there is no possibility of the trial commencing in the near future.”
Consequently, the bail was granted to the appellants as the embargo on the grant of bail under proviso to subsection (5) of Section 43D did not apply in this case. The Court directed the Special Judge for the trial of NIA cases at Vijayawada to release the appellants-accused on bail on appropriate conditions determined by him after hearing the parties.
Cause Title- Yedala Subba Rao & Anr. V. Union of India
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