Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan was released from Sitapur district jail on Friday, 20 May, in a matter concerning Kotwali Police Station in Rampur.
This comes a day after the Supreme Court granted him interim bail in an alleged cheating case. A Justice L Nageswara Rao-headed bench invoked its special power under Article 142 of the Constitution to grant relief to Azam Khan.
Celebrating Khan's release, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav tweeted, "Hearty welcome to Senior SP leader and MLA Azam Khan ji on his release on bail. With this decision on bail, the Supreme Court has given new standards to justice. It is sure that he will be acquitted in all other false cases. Lies have moments, not centuries!"
Khan had been in Sitapur jail since 2020 in connection with 88 cases. He has already been granted bail in 87 cases and walked out of jail on Friday after being granted interim bail in the 88th case.
The Uttar Pradesh Police had tightened vigil outside the Sitapur district jail ahead of Khan's release. Both his sons, Abdullah & Adeeb, also reached the Sitapur district jail on Friday.
"The Supreme Court gave justice," said Abdullah Azam Khan, as per ANI.
Meanwhile, Adeeb Azam Khan said, "I am very happy (with Supreme Court's order). Will go to Rampur directly (after the release)."
The SC said the interim bail would operate until the court decides on the application for regular bail. The SC also asked Khan to apply for regular bail before the court within two weeks.
On 17 May, the SC had reserved its order on the interim bail of Khan in a case pertaining to the Kotwali police station.
Meanwhile, 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.
The Supreme Court had hit out at the Uttar Pradesh government on 11 May, saying, "Why not let him go?"
"What is this? Why not let him go? He has been in 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."
Meanwhile, the 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 to 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 ANI.)
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