HC gives interim bail to corporators in Thane builder's suicide case

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday granted interim protection from arrest to four corporators of nearby Thane who had sought anticipatory bail in the suicide case of builder Suraj Parmar.

The interim bail was granted by a vacation bench on separate petitions filed by corporators Vikrant Chavan of Congress, Najib Mulla and Hanumant Jagdale of NCP and Sudhakar Chavan, an Independent.

Justice Ravi K Deshpande asked the corporators to pay Rs 1 lakh surety each and deposit their mobile phones and passports to Thane police. They were also directed not to enter the premises of Thane Municipal Corporation until further court orders.

Thane police had registered a case of 'abetment to suicide' and for offences of criminal misconduct under the Prevention of Corruption Act after a notebook left by Parmar in his car revealed their names as the ones who had allegedly harassed him.

Public prosecutor Raja Thakre said the petitioners were not cooperating with police and their mobiles were found switched off. They were also not available to police. Besides, their names were found in the builder's notebook. Their lawyer Sirish Gupte argued that they should be given anticipatory bail as their custodial interrogation was not required in this case.

The lawyer argued that allegations pertained to bribes being taken by municipal officers from the builder and they (corporators) were not those officers.

The defence lawyer also pleaded that the names of the corporators given in the builder's notebook was erased (by the builder) and denied their involvement in the suicide. He said they were willing to cooperate with police in the probe. The family of the deceased builder intervened to describe as baseless the allegations about Parmar committing suicide because of Rs 150 crore Income Tax liability.

Earlier, a Thane sessions court had not granted the corporators anticipatory bail. Being aggrieved, they moved the high court.

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