HC refuses temporary bail to police officer sentenced to life imprisonment for kidnapping
Maharashtra service police officer Manoj Prabhakar Lohar contended that he is a cancer survivor and also recently underwent a heart surgery, which requires follow-up treatment in Mumbai.Updated: Jul 15, 2020 18:51 IST
An Aurangabad bench of the Bombay high court (HC) last week rejected an application for an interim bail filed by former Maharashtra service police officer Manoj Prabhakar Lohar, who was convicted last year for kidnapping for ransom and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Lohar had sought an interim bail on health grounds.
He contended that he is a cancer survivor and also recently underwent a heart surgery, which requires follow-up treatment in Mumbai.
It was also argued on his behalf that since several inmates at Mumbai’s Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai were found to have tested coronavirus disease (Covid-19) positive, Lohar, a heart patient, is apprehensive of contracting SARS-CoV-2, which causes the disease.
The two-member division HC bench, comprising Justices TV Nalawade and Shrikant Kulkarni, was not impressed with the argument.
The judges found the period of follow-up treatment after the heart surgery had lapsed and a fresh report by jail authorities stated that the petitioner was in sound health condition and leading a normal life.
Besides the court noted that on April 3, 2019, another HC bench, also headed by Justice Nalawade, had rejected the applications filed by Lohar for suspension of the substantive sentence handed down to him and his purported agent, Dhiraj Yeole, and grant of bail.
Lohar, who was working as additional superintendent (ASP) of police at Chalisgaon in Jalgaon district, and Yeole, a local resident, were convicted by Jalgaon sessions court last year.
They were convicted for kidnapping for ransom a local politician, Uttamrao Mahajan, the principal of an Ayurvedic medical college at Chalisgaon, in June 2009, and demanding a ransom of Rs 60 lakh for his release.
Mahajan, according to the prosecution, was detained illegally and let off only after the Jalgaon SP intervened in the matter.
The HC noted that there was no change in circumstances after the order dated April 3, 2019, when the bench headed by justice Nalawade rejected his bail plea.
The court had said that releasing them on bail would send a wrong signal to the public at large and such persons need to be kept behind bars in a bid to send a strong message to others indulging in similar offences.
“These days police officers like the accused No.1 (Lohar) are virtually acting as leaders of gangs of dacoit,” the HC had said in its April 3, 2019 order.
“It can be said that public is afraid of police like the accused No.1 more than the dacoits, who commit robberies or burglaries,” the order had added.