HW English

HC dismisses plea seeking cancellation of Tharoor’s anticipatory bail in Sunanda Pushkar death case

New Delhi |┬áThe Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed a plea seeking the cancellation of Shashi Tharoor’s anticipatory bail granted by a trial court in the case pertaining to the death of his wife, Sunanda Pushkar.

Justice R K Gauba rejected the petition filed by lawyer Deepak Anand challenging the Congress MP’s move to bypass a magisterial court and directly approach a sessions court for anticipatory bail in the case.

The judge said he would give reasons for his decision later.

The order came after the lawyer failed to convince the court that his plea was maintainable after it asked him to “show why should your plea be entertained”.

After hearing his arguments for several minutes, the judge asked the lawyer not to “beat around the bush” nor make “statements in the air” and thereafter dismissed his plea.

At the commencement of the hearing, senior advocate Vikas Pahwa, who appeared for Tharoor, said the plea was not maintainable as the petitioner did not have the locus to file such a petition.

Pahwa said that if the plea was entertained then it would open a pandora’s box and anyone, not associated with a case, would move the high courts challenging a trial court’s decision.

Delhi government’s senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra, appearing for the police, also opposed the maintainability of the plea, but said that there was “no reasonable apprehension” that Tharoor would be arrested if he was to appear before the magisterial court pursuant to the summons issued to him.

Mehra had earlier said that 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 had said.

The lawyer in his plea had contended that after the filing of charge sheet in the Pushkar case, 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 had claimed.

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 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 had 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 had also 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.

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