"Why not let him (Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan) go?" the Supreme Court hit out at the Uttar Pradesh government on Wednesday, 11 May, and directed it to file a reply to Khan's plea over the delay in his hearing.
The case is scheduled to be heard next Tuesday.
"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.
Meanwhile, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who was representing Khan, said the case is worrisome and suggested that it requires a detailed hearing.
Denying the allegations, SV Raju, Additional Solicitor General for the UP government, said there is substance in every case filed against Khan. A wrong impression is being created, he added.
The case pertains to the matter wherein Khan along with others are accused of grabbing a property for his Mohammad Ali Jauhar University project. This happened while he was serving as the university's chancellor.
"He (Khan) has been out on bail in all matters except one for so long, this is a travesty of justice. We will not say anything more," the apex court said.
Allahabad High Court had 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 hectare 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.
(With inputs from PTI.)