Marked for ar rest since May 3, Punjab’s l ocal bodies and medical education minister Anil Joshi on Tuesday secured bail here in two cases of defamation and one of damage to private property.
District and sessions judge Gurbir Singh has directed the minister to furnish a bail bond of 50,000, besides a personal surety, in each of the three cases. He has to submit the sum in the court of judicial magistrate first class (JMIC), where these matters are being heard since December last year.
On May 8, the minister had applied for anticipatory bail. Giving him no immediate relief then, the court had adjourned the hearing to first May 12 and, later, the following day. Joshi moved the application after the JMIC issued non-bailable arrest warrants against him on May 3, taking note of his repeated absence from the hearings since December last year.
The counsel for the complainants, VD Behal, cited a Supreme Court order stating that anyone who jumped bail lost the right to seek anticipatory bail. Joshi’s counsel , Amandeep Singh, argued that based on directions from the Punjab and Haryana high court, his client had in December applied for permanent exemption from court appearance but the judge had declined to give him even temporary relief.
The sessions judge reserved his orders until post noon and, later in that session, granted bail to Joshi, who happened to be in the city. The minister must appear before the lower court on May 20, when the JMIC wanted him for hearing.
The complainants in the three cases are local advocates Sandeep Gorsiand Vine et Mahajan. Mahajan is in hospital, recovering from injuries sustained in an armed assault on him last Saturday, while Gorsi is on the run in a case of attempt to murder.
Mahajan has told the police that Joshi was behind the attack on him and the “framing” of his colleague, Gorsi.
The lawyers have dragged the minister to court in the “dual vote” case, in which arrest warrants have been issued against the minister, his wife, mother and seven other relatives.