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SC Disposes of Plea Seeking Release of Noida's Former Chief Engineer from Alleged Illegal CBI Custody

File image: Allahabad High Court.

File image: Allahabad High Court.

The bench was informed that the Allahabad High Court has already granted him bail on Thursday.

The Supreme Court Friday disposed of a plea seeking release of Noida's former chief engineer Yadav Singh from alleged illegal custody of the CBI in a corruption case after being informed that the Allahabad High Court has already granted him bail on Thursday.

A bench of Justices R F Nariman, Navin Sinha and B R Gavai recorded the statement of Singh's lawyers on the high court bail order and said the petition has now become infructuous and disposed of the matter.

A division bench of the high court had granted the bail while hearing a habeas corpus (produce the detained person before court) petition seeking Singh's release from the alleged illegal CBI custody.

The CBI counsel had told the high court Wednesday that the delay in filing of charge sheet was not intentional as courts were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Rejecting the argument, the high court said the probe agency's claim was not justified, and directed that the petitioner be set free forthwith on fulfilling the conditions to be laid down by the special court.

The top court had on July 8 asked the high court to decide the plea seeking release of Singh and pass appropriate orders. Singh, former chief maintenance engineer in Noida, is in judicial custody since February 11, 2020 after the CBI arrested him in the third case of corruption registered against him on January 17, 2018.

His son, Sunny, had approached the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court with a habeas corpus petition alleging that Yadav Singh has been wrongly incarcerated as only 60 days of judicial custody is permissible under Section 167 (2) of Code of Criminal Procedure and that the duration expired on April 10, 2020.

Sunny contended that the CBI failed to file charge sheet within the statutory period of 60 days but the trial court rejected the prayer for default bail.

On May 6, the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court has "dismissed as withdrawn" the habeas corpus petition seeking Singh's release as the CBI raised objections on the court's territorial jurisdiction but granted liberty to the petitioner to move a fresh petition before its principal bench.

Besides the latest corruption case wherein Yadav Singh is accused of favouring companies of his friends and associates in doling out lucrative contracts in Noida, the CBI had booked him in two other corruption cases.

These cases pertain to misusing his official position to favour firms in awarding contracts worth over Rs 1,000 crore in Noida and amassing illegitimate assets worth over Rs 23 crore.

The agency had produced 62-year old Yadav Singh before the Ghaziabad Special court after his arrest which sent him to judicial custody. His bail petition was rejected by the special court on April 17, 2020.

Before the Lucknow bench of the High Court, the CBI had contended that the territorial jurisdiction over Ghaziabad Special court is of Allahabad High Court hence, the matter should be heard by it and not by its Lucknow Bench.

The agency had also argued that there was no question of illegal detention as the accused was produced before the special court which remanded him to judicial custody. It said the accused was not in CBI custody.

During the course of enquiry, the agency had found that he had allegedly favoured five companies belonging to his friends, associates and family members in awarding huge contracts in Noida.

first published:July 10, 2020, 15:21 IST