Sand mining: HC rejects anticipatory bail of truck owner
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Sand mining: HC rejects anticipatory bail of truck owner
On the watch : A circle officer during an inspection spotted a truck transporting illegally excavated sand.

Court says accused failed to co-operate with investigation, directed driver to take truck away

The Bombay High Court has rejected the anticipatory bail of the owner of a truck, which was seized with illegally excavated sand.

A single Bench of Justice Sarang Kotwal was hearing a plea filed by the owner, Vijay Kedar, seeking pre-arrest bail. The FIR was registered by circle officer Sharad Khandagale on August 26. Mr. Khandagale said he was approaching a village during an inspection and he spotted a truck transporting illegally excavated sand.

An informant, Talathi, and a group of villagers had given Mr. Khandagale a tip-off on the truck. Mr. Khandagale directed the truck driver to stop the vehicle, but he sped away. Then Mr. Talathi gave chase and was able to stop the truck after 15 minutes. When Mr. Talathi asked the driver to produce the truck’s documents, he was unable to do so.

The driver said Mr. Kedar, the owner of the truck, was in possession of the documents. Mr. Kedar then arrived at the spot and prevented Mr. Talathi from speaking to the driver. Two accomplices of Mr. Kedar soon joined him and they stopped Mr. Talathi from taking control of the vehicle.

Mr. Khandagale then registered the FIR under Sections 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 379 (punishment for theft), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 34 (act done with common intention) of the Indian Penal Code. The FIR also included Sections 9 (furnishing of information to authorities and agencies in certain cases) and 15 (penalty for contravention of the provisions of the Act and the rules, orders and directions) of the Environment Protection Act.

The advocate appearing for Mr. Kedar sought anticipatory bail for his client on the ground that the driver had been arrested and released on bail. He also said the truck has been already seized and the custodial interrogation of Mr. Kedar would serve no purpose.

The court said, “Bare reading of the FIR shows that the truck and illegally excavated sand belonged to Mr. Kedar. The driver had acted at his behest and obstructed public servants in performance of their duty. He has directed the driver to take away the truck, from which, his complicity in the offence is more than clear. The offence is serious.”

‘Interrogation necessary’

While rejecting the plea, Justice Kotwal noted, “Mr. Kedar has not co-operated with the investigation at the spot. He was not available for further investigation either. In these circumstances, his custodial interrogation is necessary and therefore, I am not inclined to grant anticipatory bail.”

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