The Supreme Court Monday granted interim bail for two weeks to an alleged middleman, arrested in connection with the Election Commission bribery case allegedly involving AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran, to enable him to attend the last rites of his father. The matter was mentioned before a bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud and the apex court was apprised by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Sukesh Chandrashekar, that father of the accused had died on Sunday. Rohatgi told the bench, also comprising Justices Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee, that Chandrashekar be granted interim bail to enable him to attend the last rites and other obsequial formalities.
We accordingly direct that the applicant be released on interim bail for a period of two weeks commencing today i.e. November 23, 2020 and ending on December 9, 2020, on which date the applicant shall surrender back to the Rohini Jail, Delhi, the bench said in its order. The applicant shall at all times, commencing from his departure from Rohini Jail, Delhi and until his surrender back, be accompanied by a police escort to be provided by DAP III Battalion of Delhi Police, the bench said, adding that the expenses and the charges of police escort shall be borne by the applicant and an amount of Rs 5 lakhs shall be deposited with DAP III Battalion of Delhi Police.
The bench noted in its order that earlier, it had granted interim bail to Chandrashekar to enable him to meet his father who was suffering from Leukemia and during that period, the accused had contracted COVID-19 and his interim bail was extended. It noted that after the accused was discharged from the hospital at Chennai, he surrendered back at the Rohini Jail in Delhi. Chandrashekhar was arrested in 2017 by the police and in his appeal before the top court, he has challenged the March 5 order of the Delhi High Court by which his bail plea was rejected.
A charge sheet was filed by the police before the trial court in the case on July 14, 2017, alleging that Dhinakaran and Chandrashekar had conspired to bribe Election Commission (EC) officials to get the two leaves’ symbol for their party. Both Dhinakaran and Chandrashekar have denied all the allegations. The police have also included in the charge sheet allegations of forgery for the purpose of cheating, using forged documents as genuine, possessing a forged document, intending to use it as genuine and criminal conspiracy. Chandrashekar was arrested for allegedly taking money from Dhinakaran to bribe EC officials to get the AIADMK two leaves’ symbol for the Sasikala faction in a by-election to the R K Nagar Assembly seat in Tamil Nadu. Dhinakaran, also chargesheeted by the police, was arrested here on April 25, 2018 after four days of questioning for allegedly attempting to bribe EC officials for the symbol. The bypoll was necessitated by the death of Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa, who represented the assembly segment. The EC had frozen the AIADMK’s symbol after the two factions — one led by Dhinakaran’s aunt Sasikala and the other by former chief minister O Panneerselvam-staked a claim to it.