Observing that an accused-turned-approver in custody is required to be detained till termination of the trial, the special CBI court on Tuesday rejected bail plea of dismissed Mumbai police officer Sachin Waze in the corruption case registered by the central agency against former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh.
“The person who turns approver and who is granted pardon subjects himself to certain conditions, one of which is contained in Section 306(4) (b) of the Criminal Procedure Code, which stipulates that unless the person the approver is already on bail, he shall be detained in custody till the termination of the trial,” said special judge S H Gwalani while rejecting Waze’s bail plea.
Deshmukh was first arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on November 2, 2021, on the allegations of money laundering.
The CBI had on April 21, 2021 registered an FIR against Deshmukh and others, based on the allegations of corruption levelled by former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh, who alleged that Deshmukh had instructed certain Mumbai police officers, including Waze, to collect an amount of ₹100 crore every month from Mumbai’s restaurants and bars.
Waze had accordingly collected ₹4.70 crore from the owners of orchestra bars in Mumbai between December 2020 and February 2021 and handed over the “extorted money” in two instalments to Deshmukh’s personal assistant Kundan Shinde.
In this case, CBI has named Waze an accused and arrested him on April 4.
Subsequently, the dismissed assistant police inspector offered to become an approver in the case and accordingly on June 1 granted pardon by the special court.
He then applied for bail claiming that he was entitled to be released on bail in view of the grant of pardon. His lawyer, advocate Raunak Naik, had submitted that after the grant of pardon he must be presumed to have been discharged from the case, as thereafter he ceased to be an accused and became a prosecution witness.
CBI had, however, opposed the plea. Special public prosecutor Ashish Chavan for the agency contended that the case was covered by section 306(4) of the CrPC, which lays down that if an accused in custody when he is granted pardon, he should be detained in custody till the conclusion of the trial.
The CBI court accepted the agency’s contention and held that the provision appeared to be mandatory. “Going by the provision, an approver who has been granted pardon has to be detained in custody till the termination of trial and cannot be granted bail before that,” the court said, adding that, “The use of the word ‘shall’ in the provision shows that it is mandatory and the legislature has introduced a statutory interdiction against releasing the said person even invoking the inherent power.”