The Circuit Bench of the Calcutta High Court in Jalpaiguri has again granted bail to Sheikh Sohel Rana, an “illegal entrant and immigration violator” who hails from Bangladesh. Notably, Justice Biswaroop Chowdhury has issued an order on 26 December 2022 and the High Court had granted Mr Rana’s bail plea on 8 December 2022, while the ACJM Mekhligang in Coochbehar district had not accepted the surety bonds and declared them unfit under the provision of Section 441 of the Code of Criminal Procedure vide its order dated 14 December 2022.
A section of legal experts today said that the Court was being misled by a group of legal experts, who are pleading for Mr Rana. According to them, the Court granted bail to the appellant on “furnishing of two Indians (local sureties) Sujit Das and Debananda Roy.
Very interestingly, after the ACJM did not accept them earlier, the petitioners had come up with an “instant application” by furnishing two other sureties from the Indian part, namely Md Rafikul and Nur Alam. Legal observers, who are closely following the case, said the previous guarantees who submitted affidavits were finally declined in front of the Mekhliganj court.
Now again, two guarantees have been produced in the court stating that they knew Sohel Rana, who was in correctional homes from Jalpaiguri to Berhampur in Murshidabad ever since his arrest. “How do they know Rana? This means distorted information has been produced in the Court to manage bail,” one such observer said.
“Upon hearing of the learned advocates for the parties, this application stands disposed of Order dated 8 December 2022 passed by the Court is modified to the extent that Md Rafikul and Nur Alam may stand as sureties for the appellants subject to the satisfaction of the CJM in Coochbehar. Other conditions remain unaltered,” the order, passed by the Court on 26 December 2022, sates. “This order has given a ray of hope amongst other Bangladeshi nationals who have illegally entered India and are either under-trial or undoing punishment in jail.
This may also give Bangladeshi nationals an opportunity to stay in India legally on bail if they can afford legal expenses,” a senior administrative officer said, adding, “It will act as a landmark judgement in the time to come.” Notably, Mr Rana was apprehended by the Border Security Force (BSF) at Changrabandha while he was trying to flee after entering Indian Territory through an unfenced area of the Dahagram-Angarpota enclave on September 2021.
Sohel Rana is learnt to have absconded from Bangladesh to evade arrest in connection with alleged financial scam of 1100 crore Taka after e-orange (an online shopping site) in Dhaka was found involved in massive financial scam. Mr Rana is known to have joined the Police Service in Bangladesh as Sub-Inspector in 2003 and remained suspended with effect from 2003 to 2008 due to alleged political involvement, but he was reinstated in service after winning a case in a court, sources said.