The Supreme Court, on Thursday, 19 May, granted interim bail to jailed Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan in a cheating case, PTI reported.
Khan has been in Sitapur jail since 2020 in connection with several cases, including a land-grabbing case against him in Rampur.
A Justice L Nageswara Rao headed bench invoked its special power under Article 142 of the Constitution to grant relief to Azam Khan. The SC said the interim bail would operate until the court decides on the application for regular bail.
"This is a fit case to exercise the powers under Article 142," the bench, also comprising Justices BR Gavai and AS Bopanna, said.
The SC also asked Khan to apply for regular bail before the court within two weeks.
On 17 May, the SC reserved its order on the interim bail of Khan in a case pertaining to the Kotwali police station in Uttar Pradesh.
The Allahabad High Court had granted interim bail to Azam Khan last week in a case related to wrongful possession of land. The case pertains to the matter wherein Khan, along with others, is accused of grabbing property for his Mohammad Ali Jauhar University project. This happened while he was serving as the university's chancellor.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had hit out at the Uttar Pradesh government on Wednesday, 11 May, saying, "Why not let him go?"
"What is this? Why not let him go? He has been jail for two years. One or two cases is okay but it cannot be in 89 cases. Whenever he gets bail, he is again sent to jail in some other matter. You file a reply. We will hear on Tuesday," said a bench comprising justices L Nageswara Rao, BR Gavai, and AS Bopanna, reported news agency PTI.
"Soon after Khan gets bail in one case, he is booked in another matter. This chain has been continuing to keep him behind bars," observed Justice Gavai.
The Supreme Court had earlier expressed displeasure over the delay in deciding the bail application of Khan in the land grab case and had called it a "travesty of justice".
Allahabad High Court on Thursday, 5 May, reserved its verdict on the bail application.
Police had filed an FIR against Khan and others for allegedly grabbing property and misusing crores of public money. As per the FIR, following partition, 13.842 hectares of land belonging to a man named Imamuddin Qureshi was grabbed by Khan and his associates after recording it as enemy property. The land grab allegedly happened after Qureshi went to Pakistan.
The Supreme Court had in February this year turned down the plea by Azam Khan seeking interim bail for campaigning before the Uttar Pradesh elections and asked him to move the Allahabad High Court. The high court had granted him bail then but he was not released as he was booked in another case.
(With inputs from PTI and Firstpost.)