Main accused absconding in liquor bottling plant case

File Photo: On September 2, the Assam Rifles discovered the illicit plant, allegedly being used for bottling liquor in a private property at 7th Mile, Dimapur. (Photo: @official_dgar / Twitter)
File Photo: On September 2, the Assam Rifles discovered the illicit plant, allegedly being used for bottling liquor in a private property at 7th Mile, Dimapur. (Photo: @official_dgar / Twitter)

3 Bails— 1 Anticipatory, 1 Interim, 1 Regular

Morung Express News
Dimapur | September 24

At least 2 persons have obtained bail in connection to the alleged liquor bottling plant in Dimapur. The case has so far seen two applications for Anticipatory bail and one regular bail on health grounds. 

On September 2, the Assam Rifles discovered an illicit liquor plant in a private property at 7th Mile. The plant was suspected to have been used for bottling liquor. One person, said to be its caretaker, was apprehended and the case was handed over to the police for further investigation.

The case is suspected to involve public personalities and there has been no official update from the police till date.

But as per other sources, the main accused was absconding and others suspected of complicity have sought legal recourse. 

The latest bail hearing occurred on September 23 at the Kohima Bench of the Gauhati High Court. It was an Anticipatory bail application and the subsequent hearing and order passed on September 23.

The order, available on the online ‘ecourts’ portal, contained a gist of the case filed by the Chümoukedima Police Station. It said that the police had filed a case against the lessee and, “On investigation by the police, it was found that there were certain machineries installed in the site for bottling and manufacturing liquor.” 

To paraphrase, it named three suspects (names withheld) — a businessman (lessee/main accused) and landlord (owner of the land where the bottling plant was found), besides a third person, who allegedly introduced the businessman to the land owner. 

The order passed on September 23 pertained to the Anticipatory bail application filed by the third person (petitioner). 

While stating that both parties have been heard, the court observed that the accused (petitioner) is a “public figure” and has no reason to abscond. 

While citing the case of Siddharam Satlingappa Mhetre vs State of Maharashtra and Others (2011), the court granted the petitioner an Interim Bail of 20 days “on certain conditions.” Further stating that the “petitioner will report to the investigation as and when required,” it added that the hearing for “regularization” of the Anticipatory bail be listed after 20 days. 

The court observed, “Considering that the petitioner is a person having roots in the society and is a public figure and once a member of the Legislative Assembly, there is no reason to doubt that the accused will abscond. There is also no record showing that the petitioner has criminal antecedents which is a requirement while considering the issue of pre arrest bail.” 

As per the order, it was the petitioner’s second Anticipatory bail application following an unsuccessful bid in a lower court in Dimapur. 

Meanwhile, the owner of the land had successfully filed for Anticipatory bail. A fourth person (not the one apprehended by the Assam Rifles) was also said to have obtained bail on health grounds today.