Antilia bomb scare case: SC extends by four weeks interim bail granted to ex-cop Pradeep Sharma

The Supreme Court on Monday extended by four weeks the interim bail granted to former Mumbai Police officer Pradeep Sharma, who was arrested in connection with the Antilia bomb scare case and the killing of businessman Mansukh Hiran, in view of his wife’s surgery.

A vacation bench of Justices AS Bopanna and Prashant Kumar Mishra extended the relief to Sharma granted earlier this month after senior advocate Siddharth Dave, appearing for him, said his wife could not be operated upon as the doctor concerned was abroad.

“The doctor was travelling throughout the month of June. Now, he is set to return to India in the first week of July after which the surgery will be conducted”, Dave said, requesting the bench to extend the interim bail granted to Sharma, a former encounter specialist of Mumbai Police.

Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj, opposed the application for extension of interim bail saying no specific date of surgery is mentioned and later Sharma will again come and seek for extension of bail period.

“This is a serious case and important witnesses are to be examined. Time and again extension could not be granted”, he said.

Justice Bopanna said these are small issues and since the doctor was not in the country, the surgery could not be taken up.

The bench after perusing the last order and the report of the doctor, extended the interim bail period by four weeks and directed the matter be listed after four weeks.

On June 5, the top court had granted three weeks interim bail to Sharma after noting that his wife has to undergo surgery.

The top court had said Sharma will be released on interim bail subject to conditions imposed by the trial court.

“From the medical certificate issued by the Lilavati Hospital and Research Centre, Mumbai, dated May 27, 2023, the wife of the petitioner has been advised to undergo reversal of gastric bypass surgery.

“Considering the reason for which interim bail is prayed for, we direct that the petitioner shall be released on interim bail on such conditions that the trial court may consider fit and proper, for a period of three weeks, to attend to his wife’s treatment,” the top court had said.

The top court had posted the matter for hearing on June 26 and directed Sharma to furnish a medical report disclosing the progress in the treatment of his wife.

The top court had on May 18 issued notice on Sharma’s plea challenging an order of the Bombay High Court which had refused to grant him bail.

The high court had expressed anguish at the manner in which the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had probed the case.

It had noted that the NIA’s probe was silent on the co-conspirators involved with dismissed policeman Sachin Waze in planting gelatin sticks in an SUV parked outside the residence of industrialist Mukesh Ambani.

On February 25, 2021, an explosives-laden SUV was found near Ambani’s residence ‘Antilia’ in south Mumbai. Businessman Hiran, who was in possession of the SUV, was found dead in a creek in neighbouring Thane on March 5, 2021.

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The allegation against Sharma, who along with police officers Daya Nayak, Vijay Salaskar and Ravindranath Angre was a member of the Mumbai Police’s encounter squad that killed over 300 criminals in numerous encounters, was that he had helped his former colleague Waze in eliminating Hiran.

Salaskar had died during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.

Sharma had approached the high court last year challenging a February 2022 order of a special NIA court rejecting his bail plea.

Sharma was arrested in the case in June 2021 and is currently in judicial custody.

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