SP leader Azam Khan gets bail, to be released soon
The Supreme Court granted interim bail to Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan on Thursday in an alleged cheating case. The temporary bail will be in effect till his normal bail plea is resolved, allowing him to be released. The apex court used its extraordinary jurisdiction under Article 142 to award relief to Khan, especially in light of the unusual facts presented in the case.
- Khan has been in jail for over two years. His bail application has been languishing in the Allahabad High Court.
- He was chosen as the Samajwadi Party contender for Rampur in the 2022 UP elections.
- He had then moved the SC seeking interim bail, but the court had refused to intervene.
- The SC later directed the HC to expedite his bail plea.
Khan's writ petition was being heard by a bench of Justices LN Rao, BR Gavai, and AS Bopanna of the Supreme Court which invoked the special powers. The bench had previously expressed worry over the trial court's repeated delay in hearing Khan's bail application. On Tuesday, the court had deferred its decision in the case.
The Uttar Pradesh government had informed the SC that the case's investigators had been intimidated. According to authorities, they were intimidated even as Khan's statement was being recorded. Khan's lawyer, senior advocate Kapil Sibbal, however, told the court that because Khan has been in prison for the past two years, the issue of his threatening anyone does not arise.
Khan is a popular Muslim face of the Akhilesh Yadav-led SP. He faced a slew of charges after the BJP took power in Uttar Pradesh in 2017. Despite this, he was able to win the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from Rampur and the 2022 state Assembly elections from behind bars.
The top court had earlier voiced its vexation with the delay after the Allahabad HC reserved its verdict on Khan's bail in a land grabbing case. "He (Khan) has been out on bail in all matters except one for so long, this is a travesty of justice. We will not say anything more," the SC bench had said in its observations on May 6.