Note: B.K. Lala was arrested and charged along with Lingaram Kodopi last year.
The Chhattisgarh High Court at Bilaspur on Thursday directed a Dantewada court to reconsider a bail application filed by B.K. Lala, a construction contractor accused to ferrying ‘protection money’ between the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) and the Essar group, a steel and shipping company with mining interests in Chhattisgarh.
The High Court considered a writ petition alleging that a Judicial Magistrate First Class [JMFC] court in Dantewada extended Mr. Lala’s remand beyond the legally stipulated period of 90 days without hearing the accused. “Under section 167 (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the police must file a charge sheet against the accused within 90 days of arrest, failing which the accused has the right to bail,” said Manish Sharma, Mr. Lala’s lawyer.
“Under the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, the police can take up to 180 days to file a charge sheet but only after the accused is given a hearing. In our case, we filed an application for bail on December 10, only to be told that — behind my back — the JMFC court has already extended the remand and rejected my application,” Mr. Sharma said.
The High Court order directed the JMFC court to give Mr. Lala a hearing before deciding to extend his period of judicial remand while the police file their charge sheet.