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Kurmi & aide get interim bail

- Duo agree to appear in court regularly

Jorhat, May 23: The court of the Titabar sub-divisional judicial magistrate today granted interim bail to Congress MLA from Mariani Rupjyoti Kurmi and his former PSO, Dipu Saikia, in a case of assaulting a police driver at Jorhat-Mariani road on August 20 last year.

Kurmi appeared before the court while Saikia was arrested by police and produced before the court today after Gauhati High Court had set aside the Titabar courtís earlier order of issuing a non-bailable warrant against the duo and had directed Kurmi to appear before the court today.

On May 9, the Titabar court had issued the non-bailable warrant against the duo and had directed the police to produce them in court on May 23 after the police had filed the chargesheet in the case on May 8.

However, Kurmi moved Gauhati High Court against the order and, on May 20, the higher court set aside the non-bailable warrant and directed Kurmi to appear before the court today. Since Saikia had not appealed against the non-bailable warrant, he was arrested by Jorhat police today and produced in court.

Sudipta Nayan Goswami, the lawyer representing Kurmi and Saikia, told this correspondent that the court granted interim bail to both the accused and fixed the next date of hearing on July 7. Goswami said both have been granted bail against a surety of Rs 25,000 each.

The sub-divisional judicial magistrate granted bail after both the accused made a submission to appear in court regularly during the trial period. In his bail petition, Kurmi has alleged that he has been ďfalsely implicatedĒ in the case to malign his reputation and destroy his political career while Saikia has pleaded innocence.

A case (no: 159/13) was registered against the duo at Mariani police station on the basis of an FIR lodged by a police driver, constable Kamal Mohan, on August 21, 2013. Mohan had alleged that Kurmi and his former PSO had beaten him up on the night of August 20 near Kathanibari tea estate on the Jorhat-Mariani road.

Kurmi was booked under Sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 294 (obscene act in a public place), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter a public servant from duty) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC. Section 332 is non-bailable. Excluding Section 294 IPC, Saikia, too, has been booked under the same IPC sections.

On September 25, 2013, Kurmi came to Mariani police station and gave his statement in the case. The legislator was earlier served a notice under Section 41 (A) CrPC, asking him to come to the police station on that day to record his statement. The MLA had denied the charges against him.

Kurmiís case had kicked off a political storm in Dispur last year with members from the anti-Tarun Gogoi camp reportedly issuing threats to quit their seats if the MLA was arrested. The All Assam Police Association, on the other hand, had demanded Kurmiís arrest.