HC grants bail to accused in Sasikumar murder case

Granting bail to S. Subair, an accused in the murder of Hindu Munnani leader Sasikumar, the Madras High Court has held that investigating agencies cannot file chargesheets on a piecemeal basis against select accused just to prevent them from obtaining statutory bail. He is among the five accused in the case being handled by the National Investigative Agency (NIA).

A Division Bench of Justices S. Vimala and S. Ramathilagam pointed out that the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of 1967 provided a period of 180 days for the NIA to complete the investigation and file a chargesheet against the accused. Failure to do so would entitle the accused to be released on bail.

In the instant case, the agency had claimed to have filed the chargesheet before a Special Court for NIA cases in Ponnamallee on April 7 which was well within 180 days from the date of the arrest of the accused.

However, when the judges called for the records from the Special Court, they found that the chargesheet had been filed only on May 18. “Therefore, on completion of 180 days, which falls on April 9… the accused is entitled for statutory bail,” the Bench ruled.

It found that the chargesheet had been filed only against two of the accused. Disapproving of it, the judges said: “No right accrues on the investigating officer to keep the investigation pending against a particular accused.”

The observations were made while allowing an appeal preferred by Subair against the refusal of the Special Court to grant him bail on June 9. The High Court ordered his release on furnishing a bond for ₹10,000 along with two sureties. 
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