The Punjab and Haryana High Court Wednesday granted bail to Rameshwar Dass, one of the main accused in the alleged lynching of 15-year-old Junaid Khan. Only one accused is lodged in jail in the case now. Junaid’s family has filed a petition before the Supreme Court seeking a CBI probe in the case, following which trial court proceedings, before the Faridabad court, have been stayed.
Five months after the High Court denied bail to Dass while directing the trial court to frame charges in the case, Justice A B Chaudhari allowed his bail plea. In October last year, Dass had been given liberty by the same court to file a regular bail plea after five months. The court, in the order, observed, “There is every likelihood of prosecution witnesses being put in jeopardy” and asked the Sessions court to complete the trial within five months.
Six people were arrested in the case — Naresh Kumar, Ramesh Kumar, Rameshwar Dass, Pradeep Kumar, Chander Prakash and Gaurav Sharma. With Monday’s bail to 53-year-old Dass, Naresh Kumar is now the only accused still in prison.
Junaid’s father Jalaluddin, in his plea for a CBI probe, has alleged that the investigation has been “subverted in a calculated manner” by Haryana Police to help the accused get easy bail.
Dass, a Health Inspector in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, is the main accused in the case, along with Naresh Kumar. The two were travelling from Delhi in the same coach as Junaid, when a fight broke out between them and the victims.
Dass has been accused of abusing the victims, using communal slurs during the fight. The trial court, on October 11, framed charges under sections 298, 323, 341, 307, 302 read with Section 34 of the IPC and 145 of the Railway Act, against him. The incident took place in June last year, when Junaid, his brother and two cousins, were attacked on a Mathura-bound train by a mob. Junaid was stabbed to death.
In his latest bail plea, counsel for Dass, Senior Advocate Bipan Ghai, pleaded that the trial court “erred” in framing charges against him, and it was “only a sudden fight over seat sharing”. He has been in custody since June 28.