NEW DELHI: A suspected top operative of CPI (Maoist) in Jharkhand, arrested for allegedly being a member of the banned outfit, has been acquitted by a Delhi court which said proceedings against him cannot be continued due to "illegal" sanction orders to prosecute him under the anti-terror law.
Additional Sessions Judge Reetesh Singh let off Yogendra Singh Bhokta, alleged to be the zonal committee member of CPI (Maoist) Madhya zone, observing that the two other co-accused who were arrested along with him have already been acquitted by a court here due to want of proper sanction.
The court noted that sanction order granted to prosecute the accused under stringent anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) had already been held illegal by the court earlier and the verdict has attained finality as the state had not appealed against the acquittal order.
"In the present case, the joint sanction orders under section 45 (2) UAPA qua present accused Yogendra Singh Bhokta as well as other two accused Sheetal and Satish (who were acquitted earlier) were found to be illegal.
"The evidence against other two accused Sheetal and Satish and present accused Yogendra Singh Bhokta is identical, inseparable and indivisible. Keeping in view the ratio laid down....the proceedings against accused Yogendra Singh Bhokta cannot be permitted to be continued," the judge said while acquitting Bhokta of the charges under UAPA.
Another court, which had earlier acquitted the two co-accused in the case, had held as illegal the sanction order noting that there was no reference of any authority appointed by the Centre and no recommendation was sent to the central government or the state government by the competent authority for grant of sanction.
According to Special Cell of Delhi Police, on February 20, 2009 a letter was received in the office of Joint Commissioner of Police from the then Assistant Superintendent of Police of Chatra in Jharkhand.
It said that as per the information, Bhokta was a zonal committee member of the banned outfit and he had received a bullet injury in one of his knees and was currently undergoing treatment in Delhi.
The special cell also said Bhokta was using a mobile phone to get in touch with fellow Naxalities in Chatra and during a raid at Meethapur Extension here on May 3, 2009, Bhokta, Sheetal Kumar Singh and Satish were arrested.
The police had earlier filed a charge sheet against the three accused and during the pendency of the matter, Bhokta was sent to Jharkhand for the cases pending against him there.
As Bhokta could not be produced subsequently before the court here, a magisterial court separated his case and the proceedings against other two accused commenced separately.
Sheetal Kumar and Satish were acquitted by the court in February 2013 and after Bhokta was produced from Jharkhand, the trial against him began.
During the adjudication of the case against Bhokta, his counsel contended before the court that the other two accused were acquitted earlier on the ground that the sanction order for their prosecution under UAPA was found to be illegal.
The court, in its order acquitting Bhokta, said "neither of the sanction orders can be relied upon for the prosecution of present accused Yogendra Singh Bhokta and no cognizance of the charge-sheet against the present accused could have been taken, let alone framing of charges as section 45 (1) of UAPA bars any court from taking cognizance of any offence in the absence of previous sanction of appropriate government."