Supreme Court concerned over back-to-back cases against Azam Khan
The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday voiced concerns over the back-to-back cases against Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan following each release. A three-judge bench comprising L Nageswara Rao, BR Gavai, and AS Bopanna asked the Uttar Pradesh government to file its response at the next hearing on May 17. Previously, the SC expressed displeasure with the High Court's delay in deciding the bail application.
- Azam Khan has been in jail for over two years. His bail application has been languishing in the Allahabad High Court.
- Yet, 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.
"What is this? Why not let him go. He has been in jail for two years. One or two cases are okay but it cannot be in 89 cases. Whenever he gets bail, he is again sent to jail in some other matter," the SC bench said. "This chain will continue as and when he is released on bail," observed Justice Gavai.
The top court had earlier voiced its vexation with the delay after the Allahabad HC reversed 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.
Appearing for Khan, senior advocate Kabil Sibal informed the SC bench on Monday that another FIR had been lodged against him in an attempt to keep him in prison. He stated that he will file a writ petition in that respect and requested that the case be heard on Wednesday (May 11). The said writ petition was later filed by Advocate-on-Record Lazafeer Ahmad.
Khan and others were charged for allegedly grabbing enemy property and misappropriating public money. Khan and others conspired to seize the 13.842-hectare land of one Imamuddin Qureshi—who fled to Pakistan—and his land was declared enemy property, the FIR said. The FIR was filed at Azem Nagar police station under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
In December last year, the HC had reserved its ruling on Khan's bail application. Later, the Uttar Pradesh government requested permission to introduce certain additional information via new affidavits. However, Khan claimed that the state has used every possible measure to purposely postpone the proceedings in order to keep him away from the election process in Uttar Pradesh which was concluded recently.