March 25, 2021 2:03:18 am
A man accused of digging a tunnel and robbing lockers of a Bank of Baroda branch in Sanpada, Navi Mumbai in November 2017 was granted bail by the Bombay High Court, which noted that nothing from the gold and cash stolen from the bank was recovered from his possession.
A single-judge bench of Justice Bharati H Dangre on March 23 passed an order on the bail application of Momin Khan, argued by advocates Harekrishna Mishra and Rantaneshwar Jha, that some of the accused had been granted bail as the FIR and chargesheet had not made out their direct involvement in the bank heist.
The branch manager on November 13, 2017 lodged a complaint at Sanpada police station informing that the bank was closed around 7.30 pm on Friday, November 10, and on Monday morning, when the staff opened the bank, the main locker was found to be broken and at least 48 lockers in the main strong room were damaged. Moreover, an underground tunnel gaining access to the strong room was revealed and gold ornaments from lockers of the bank depositors worth Rs 38.4 lakh were reported to be stolen.
Applicant Khan was arrested on November 18, 2017, when he was with three other accused persons. While a substantial amount of stolen property was recovered from the three, nothing was recovered from Khan or at his residence in Goregaon, Mishra submitted.
He submitted that Khan was a petty labourer working in Mumbai and no incriminating material or any goods forming part of the stolen booty was found from him.
“The main culprits in the crime from whom substantial stolen property was recovered are released on bail but the applicant is denied bail by the Special Court on flimsy grounds though he is innocent and has no connection with the crime,” Mishra argued and sought Khan’s release on bail.
After hearing submissions, Justice Dangre observed, “It is too far-fetched to assume that a person merely being seen talking with the co-accused is also arraigned as an accused. The material contained in the chargesheet, therefore, do not prima facie support the case of the prosecution in levelling the accusations as he being a member of the crime syndicate and being involved in the crime in such a capacity with the gang leader Hajid Ali Saddar.”
The court directed Khan to be released on bail on furnishing personal bond of Rs 20,000 with sureties and asked him to cooperate with the probe and attend Sanpada police station once every month.
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