Rajasthan High Court: An Accused Cannot Claim Bail Solely on the Ground of Grant of Bail to the Other Co-Accused

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In this case, the Court held that an accused cannot claim bail solely on the ground that bail has been granted to other co-accused.

Brief Facts of the Case 

The bail applicants were co-accused in a mining scam. One of the bail applicants, Dr Ashok Singhvi, worked as the principal secretary in Secretary (Mines) in the Government of Rajasthan. The Rajasthan Anti-Corruption Bureau carried a raid on the applicant. The raid revealed that the applicants obtained bribery and an amount of Rs 2.55 crores illegally. Further, the “conspiracy” unearthed in 2015. The Court, then, charged the accused under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

Arguments by the Parties

The accused’s counsel, Advocates Anil Upman and Deepak Chauhan argued that the Court has granted bail to the other co-accused in the conspiracy. This Court ordered such a ruling, despite the fact that both the accused cooperated in the investigations, so far, equally.

The state’s counsel, Additional Solicitor-General RD Rastogi, and Advocate Anand Sharma urged the Court to reject the application for bail. In their arguments, the state referred to the legal position as “distinct economic criteria” (the distinction of crime affects the economy as a whole and destroys the very basic fibre of society).

Court’s Observation

The Court affirmed that there should be a consideration of the role of the particular accused and “other relevant factors”. For this, the Court referred to judicial pronouncements such as Dr Ashok Singhvi v. Union of India and Mohammad Rashid Sheikh v. Ummanand Vijay, Assistant Director, ED. The Court observed that the Money-Laundering Act disallows grant of bail when a prima facie case is there against the accused persons. Moreover, since the accused were central to the conspiracy, they were placed-differently from the other accused.

Court’s Order

The single-judge bench comprised of Justice Satish Kumar Sharma declined grant of bail. It stated that the judgments cited by the applicants do not provide that the Court granted bail to the other co-accused having a distinguished case. In view, the case of both the present accused applicants is not similar to that of co-accused. This is on the following grounds:

  • Looking at their major role in the alleged crime.
  • The evidence collected against them.
  • Their conduct of evading trial, and other relevant factors.

Further, Justice Satish Kumar Sharma, keeping in view that-

  • The specific major role of the present accused applicants.
  • Strong evidence is available against them.
  • Their conduct to evade the trial.
  • Probable impact on the Society on granting bail to present accused. applicants having distinct status in this economic offence of severe nature.
  • All other relevant factors as envisaged in the PML Act.

Thus, in the referred pronouncements, “both the present applicants do not deserve to be enlarged on bail”, the Court said. While it agreed that a case has made out against the accused. The Court also pointed out it has not expressed any opinion on the decision of the case.


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