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Monday, July 23, 2018

As Lalita Park trial drags on, bail granted to only accused

132 witnesses yet to be examined, trial will take a long time, says court.

Written by Kaunain Sheriff M | Delhi | Published: January 13, 2016 2:08:36 am

Over five years after the most devastating building collapse in Delhi — when a four-storey building turned to rubble, killing 71 people and injuring scores of others — only accused Amrit Singh has been granted conditional bail by a Delhi court.

As the case drags on in court, nearly 100 families are still waiting for justice over the building collapse, which took place on November 15, 2010 in east Delhi’s Lalita Park.

Singh is facing trial on charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and voluntarily causing grievous hurt. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to 10 years in prison.

He has already spent over five years in jail.

The court observed that the “trial will take a long time to conclude” and “it is a fit case for granting bail” as Singh has been in jail for over half of the maximum period of imprisonment he would be sentenced to if found guilty.

Additional Sessions Judge Sanjay Bansal granted conditional bail to Singh on a bail bond of Rs 2 lakh and on the conditions that he would surrender his passport and not “influence prosecution witnesses”.

While passing the order last week, ASJ Bansal said, “… It is unfortunate that so many lives were lost and so many persons were injured. However, the guilt of the accused is yet to be fully established. Though prima facie it appears that all these deaths and injuries occurred because of the acts and omissions on the part of the accused. The prosecution has cited around 260 witnesses in the present matter and till date, only 128 witnesses have been examined. Trial of the case will definitely take time”.

While Amrit Singh had originally built a single-storey house in 1988, it is alleged that by 2005, the building had five storeys due to illegal constructions.
Right before it collapsed in 2010, Singh’s building allegedly had seven floors, along with a basement that was used as a storehouse. Though the basement had been flooded with rainwater, no repair work was allegedly carried out.

The bail order came after Singh moved an application under under Section 436-A of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), which deals with the grant of bail when the accused has already spent a period in prison that extends up to half of the maximum period of imprisonment for the offence he is alleged to have committed.

“… Accused has already spent more than five years in jail, and because trial will take long time to conclude, it is a fit case for granting bail under Sec. 436-A CrPC,” ASJ Bansal added.

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