The Supreme Court Tuesday directed that bail be granted to senior Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan and his son Mohammad Abdullah, subject to the trial court examining the complainant within two weeks, in a case of alleged cheating and forgery of documents by them for getting a second PAN card.
Azam allegedly helped his then minor son procure a second PAN card using forged documents to show the wrong date of birth to enable him to contest the 2017 assembly elections from Suar constituency in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh.
A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Sanjiv Khanna observed that since the charge sheet has been filed in the case, which relates to mostly documentary evidences, bail be granted to both the father-son duo after trial court records the statement of the informant within two weeks.
With the grant of bail in the forgery case, Azam Khan has got bail in all the FIRs except for two cases.
Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, vehemently opposed the bail pleas saying they both are habitual offenders and there are 87 FIRs lodged against them including one of land grabbing of enemy property worth billions of rupees by forging documents.
He said bail should not be granted to them as they were absconding and attachment proceedings were initiated against them for the offences which entail life imprisonment.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Azam Khan, said that when the investigation is complete and charge sheet has been filed in the matter which has been taken cognizance of by the trial court, he cannot be kept in custody.
He has managed to get bail in all the cases and therefore he should be granted bail in this case also as the matter relates to documentary evidence.
Raju said Azam Khan has been influencing the witnesses even from the hospital in various cases and bail should not be granted to him.
On November 26 last year, the Allahabad High Court has rejected the bail pleas of Azam Khan and his son after which they moved the top court.
An FIR was lodged against them in 2019 alleging that on January 24, 2017, Abdullah had filed nomination papers for contesting from Suar assembly constituency.
They were taken into custody in the case in February, 2020 and a charge sheet was filed in May that year.
In the nomination papers, Abdullah’s date of birth was mentioned as September 30, 1990, as opposed to the actual January 1, 1993, to make him eligible for contesting elections, and Azam Khan had helped him procure the incorrect PAN card, the FIR alleged.