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HC again gives bail to 3 men accused of killing techie

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Press Trust of India Mumbai
The Bombay High Court today granted bail to three men, who are accused, along with others, of killing a Muslim IT professional in Pune in 2014 after they being "provoked" by the speech of the leader of a Hindu right-wing group.
Justice Mridula Bhatkar granted bail to Vijay Gambhire, Ajay Lalge and Ganesh Yadav, maintaining her earlier observation that their act was not premeditated.
She had granted bail to them in January 2017, while noting in the order that the men had acted without premeditation as they were "provoked in the name of religion".
The Maharashtra government challenged the order in the Supreme Court, which sent it back to the high court, asking it to decide it afresh.
Yesterday Justice Bhatkar asked the government why it challenged only her order, as before her, two other judges of the high court had granted bail to 17 co-accused who face the same charges as the three men.
"If it was only because of the comment on religion, then I believe instead of approaching the apex court you could have directly come to me.
"You could have felt free and requested me to delete the remarks, I would have had surely made the changes. It is my duty to address the issue properly," she had said.
In her order granting the bail today, Justice Bhatkar observed that the killing was unfortunate and such vengeance and assault in the name of any religion was never justified.
She said no religion preached violence and everyone was expected to respect the other religion.
They were expected not to commit any offence, causing injury to a person, property and feelings of people of other religion and not to disregard the secular frame of the Constitution, she said.
"Such crime is always condemned by the law," she said.
However, the judge maintained that it was not a premeditated offence, as the accused had no "personal vendetta" against Mohasin Shaikh, the victim.
"I believe that the applicants can be granted bail on the ground of parity (with the other 17 who got bail). They were provoked by the speech and a discussion in the meeting which had taken place just half an hour before the incident...the accused had no serious criminal record prior to the incident," the judge said.
"This is not a premeditated, or a pre-designed crime," she said.
The judge imposed several conditions on the three applicants while granting them bail, including regular appearance before police for facing questioning.
She said they should not have ties with the Hindu Rashtra Sena (HRS), the right-wing group in question.
As per the prosecution, on June 2, 2014, the HRS had organised a meeting at Hadapsar in Pune over an incident involving morphed pictures of Shivaji, late Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray and some Hindu deities.
Its leader, Dhananjay Desai, gave a provocative speech "instigating" the audience, as per the police.
After the meeting, some of those who attended it went on a rampage. On spotting two men on a motorbike, with one of them sporting a beard, they attacked them.
The two men, Mohsin Shaikh and Riyaz, both IT professionals, were heading for dinner. While Riyaz managed to escape, Shaikh was killed in the attack.
Desai was subsequently arrested and is currently in jail.
In January 2017, Justice Bhatkar, while granting bail to the three applicants, had observed, "The fault of the deceased was only that he belonged to another religion. I consider this factor in favour.. of the applicants/accused.
"Moreover, the applicants/accused do not have criminal record and it appears that in the name of the religion, they were provoked and have committed the murder," she had said.

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First Published: Mar 28 2018 | 9:35 PM IST

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