Neither sought NBW, nor custody of man granted interim protection by apex court: Maha to SC

New Delhi, Jul 7 (PTI)The Maharashtra government on Thursday told the Supreme Court that the police had neither sought the issuance of a non-bailable warrant (NBW) nor custody of a man, who was last year granted interim protection by the apex court in connection with an alleged cheating case.


A vacation bench of Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Krishna Murari had on July 4 termed it surprising that the police had obtained an NBW against the man, who was later sent to judicial custody, despite specific interim order of May 7 last year of the apex court that he shall not be arrested in the case.



In a counter-affidavit filed on behalf of the state, the investigation officer of the case said that on June 18, 2022, the judicial magistrate had suo motu issued an NBW against the man and later, directed that he be remanded to judicial custody when he presented himself in court and filed an application for cancellation of the warrant.


When the matter came up for hearing on Thursday, the bench observed that on July 4 itself it had got the compliance report that the man was released.


The counsel appearing for the state said they have filed a reply to the application filed by the man, who through advocate Kunal Cheema, has pointed out his arrest and sought orders for his release.


The bench, however, said it has not received a reply.


We have filed a reply saying that we had not applied for the non-bailable warrant. We had never sought custody after May 7, the state's counsel said.



He said when the petitioner had presented himself before the court there for cancellation of NBW, he was directed to be taken into custody by the magistrate.


The bench directed that the reply be placed on record and posted the matter for hearing on July 13.


In the counter affidavit filed on behalf of the state, the investigation officer said the petitioner was released around 6.30 pm on July 4.


The affidavit said on June 18, 2022, the magistrate had suo motu issued an NBW against the petitioner returnable on June 23.


It said when the investigation officer attended the court on June 23, he was informed that the petitioner had presented himself in court and had filed an application for cancellation of NBW.


It said the magistrate had directed that the petitioner be remanded to judicial custody.



The officer said he had contacted the public prosecutor and was informed that the apex court had granted interim protection to the petitioner on May 7, 2021.


He said the fact that the top court had granted interim protection to the petitioner was also brought to the notice of the magistrate, who rejected the application and remanded him to judicial custody.


The affidavit said the respondent had neither sought the issuance of any NBW against the petitioner nor sought his custody after May 7.


On July 4, the bench had directed that the petitioner, if not required in any other case, be released on that day itself.


It had observed that the top court had on May 7 last year issued the notice, returnable in six weeks, on a plea filed by the man and had said that in the meantime, he shall not be arrested in connection with the FIR registered at Latur in Maharashtra.


.it is rather intriguing to notice that despite specific interim order of this court that the petitioner shall not be arrested in connection with the FIR .the prosecution obtained non-bailable warrants against the petitioner and when he appeared before the court, the judicial magistrate first class ....by his order dated June 24, 2022, observed that interim protection from arrest came to an end after six weeks from the order of this court, the bench had said in its July 4 order.


It had noted that the period of six weeks seems to have been "borrowed" concerning the returnable date of the notice issued by the apex court in its May 7 last year order.


If, what has been observed by the magistrate in the order dated June 24, 2022, is the only reason for the detention of the petitioner in judicial custody, the bona fide of the prosecuting agency and the understanding of the magistrate about the operation of the order of this court become the matters of serious concern, the bench had said.


The petitioner had last year filed a plea in the apex court against an order passed by the Bombay High Court rejecting his petition seeking anticipatory bail in a case registered for the alleged offences, including cheating, under the Indian Penal Code.