S N THAPA ADDITIONAL COLLECTOR OF CUSTOMS MARINE AND PREVENTIVE BOMBAY Vs. STATE OF MAHARASHTRA
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
STATE OF MAHARASHTRA
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R. M. Sahai, J. -
(1.)This appeal is directed against the order dated 18th September, 1993 passed by the Designated Court, Pune dismissing the bail application filed by the appellant under S. 20(8) of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1987 (hereinafter referred to as TADA).
(2.)The appellant is an Additional Collector of Customs. He is an accused against whom a case was registered under various sections of Indian Penal Code including Ss. 3, 4 and 5 of TADA. The case relates to what has come to be known as Bombay Bomb Blast case. It is undisputed that between the last week of January and first fortnight of February, 1993 huge quantity of arms, ammunition and explosives were smuggled in the country. According to prosecution the large scale smuggling of highly sophisticated and lethal weapons would not have been possible but for the connivance of the officials of the Customs Department. The Designated Court after considering the material on record and after a detailed discussion recorded a finding that there was no direct evidence to implicate the appellant in the conspiracy. Yet it rejected the bail application as according to it there was material to draw an inference that the appellant rendered assistance to the smugglers in importing the huge quantity of explosives, arms and ammunition and in transporting it to Bombay where the bomb explosions took place causing deaths of hundreds of persons and struck terror in the people.
(3.)The learned counsel for appellant assailed the finding recorded by the Designated Court and placed reliance on various material to demonstrate that no offence under any of the sections of the TADA was made out against the appellant. The learned counsel urged that the various circumstances which have been relied by the Designated Court were either irrelevant or were of no consequence and they taken either individually or collectively could not establish any of the offences under Sections 3, 4 and 5. The learned counsel urged that the inference drawn by the Designated Court that the appellant rendered assistance to the smugglers in landing huge quantity of explosives was based on no material on record. The appeal was opposed by the State and it was urged that the charge-sheet has been submitted and the trial was going to commence in April, 1994. The learned counsel submitted that in case such accused were released on bail it would create a very demoralising effect on the prosecution and shake the social confidence. On merits the learned counsel argued that the Designated Court did not commit any error in dismissing the application.
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