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HC turns down bail plea of 9A accused

A division bench of Calcutta High Court on Thursday rejected the bail plea of Pinakesh Dutta, an accused in the 9A Short Street case.

The prosecution has accused Dutta, a real estate agent, of playing a key role in organising the trespass on 9A that led to the gunning down of two bouncers. The early morning raid, according to police, was aimed at evicting the occupants.

Minutes before the division bench of Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee and Justice S.S. Sadhu rejected the bail plea, Dutta’s lawyer filed a petition seeking permission to move the case before a bench that will function during the vacation from May 17 to June 1.

The bench, however, rejected the petition.

“We opposed the bail petition because Dutta was among those who had organised the November 11 trespass. Evidences may be tampered with if a prime accused is granted bail,” said Phiroze Edulji, the lawyer representing Mamta Agarwal, who lived and ran a playschool at the Short Street property.

Mamta, who faces the murder charge for the death of the two bouncers, was granted bail last month on health grounds.

Dutta was arrested on November 15, two days after police rounded up another key accused, Parag Majmudar, whose bail plea the high court rejected on Wednesday.

According to the prosecution, Majmudar engaged Dutta for making “necessary arrangements” to get the premises vacated. Sleuths have claimed to have found direct links between Dutta and Majmudar, the owner of a construction firm who allegedly played conduit in the sale of the Short Street property to an industrialist.

Officers of the detective department seized Rs 85 lakh from a bank locker in Dutta’s name. “He failed to offer any satisfactory explanation when asked about the source of the money,” said an officer. “The money was part of the amount Dutta was given for making arrangements to vacate the premises. Dutta engaged others, including a lawyer, who in turn hired the bouncers.”