THE PUNJAB and Haryana High Court on Wednesday granted an interim bail to the prime accused Naresh Kumar in the Junaid Khan murder case in view of the Supreme Court-ordered stay on its trial proceedings. The other five accused in the murder case are already out on bail.
Naresh is accused of causing injuries with a sharp-edged weapon to the minor victim.
The sessions court in Faridabad had dismissed his bail plea in June while stating that he could not claim the ground of parity and “there is every possibility for pressurizing of the prosecution witnesses”. He has been in prison for than a year.
His counsels, senior advocate Bipan Ghai and advocate Vishavjit Virk, on Wednesday argued in the High Court that the trial court proceedings had been stayed by Supreme Court since last year and there was no proper date available when the Special Leave Petition filed by the victim’s family for CBI probe will be taken up for hearing. The accused has been in prison for more than a year without any further progress in trial, his counsels submitted.
Justice Daya Chaudhary, after a brief hearing, said that under such circumstances the case could be considered for an interim bail. While the counsel representing the family of the victim opposed the bail, the bench observed it had decided to pass an order only for the interim bail of the accused and not for the regular bail. In the order dictated in open court, Justice Chaudhary, while allowing the plea for bail, said the accused Kumar was ordered to be released on interim bail in view of the stay on trial proceedings.
The bail, according to the order, will remain in effect till the final decision of the case for CBI probe pending before the Supreme Court. The accused will have to surrender after the final decision in the Special Leave Petition and then file a fresh plea for regular bail.
However, the bail is also subject to the certain conditions already imposed by the High Court on March 28 in the bail order of co-accused Rameshwar Dass. The counsel representing the family of the victim submitted that the bail should be subject to conditions as the complainants need to be protected.
The conditions bar the accused from entering the Faridabad district, particularity the village where the family of the victim and other witnesses reside, till the completion of trial. He also has to report before a police station – located in his area of residence – on every Saturday between 11 am to 4pm. The police have also been asked to keep surveillance on him.
The 15-year-old Junaid, his brother and two cousins had been attacked in June 2017 on a Mathura-bound train. While the teenager was stabbed to death during the attack, it is alleged that communal slurs were also hurled at them.
Naresh is facing charges under Sections 298 (Uttering, words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 301 (culpable homicide), 302 (murder) and other provisions of IPC before the trial court.