Kaziman Lohagun. File picture
Darjeeling, July 7: The court of the chief judicial magistrate today granted interim bail to Kaziman Lohagun, the elected GTA Sabha member arrested in a case related to allegedly threatening a landowner at Jamuni.
The bail comes days after the GTA decided to move the tourism project from the disputed 13 acres where nine families had alleged that the hill authority took their land forcibly and did not pay them any compensation.
GTA chief executive Bimal Gurung had planned to build a water park, a garden and install a Buddha statue at the site to boost tourism in Jamuni, 20km from Darjeeling town.
Taranga Pandit, the defence lawyer for Lohagun, said: “The court of the chief judicial magistrate today granted interim bail against two sureties of Rs 1,000 each. The court has laid down three conditions. The conditions are that Kaziman Lohagun will not leave Darjeeling district without the permission of court, will not threaten or intimidate any of the witnesses and he will co-operate with the investigation. The court also observed that Kaziman Lohagun’s name did not figure in the FIR.”
Pandit said the defence team consisting of Dinesh Chandra Rai and Amrti Madan had argued that the sections under the Prevention of Atrocities on Scheduled Caste and Schedule Tribe Act, 1989, were not applicable to Lohagun. “We argued that Section 3 (IV, V, X and XV) of the Prevention of Atrocities on Scheduled Caste and Schedule Tribes Act would not be applicable to Lohagun as he is also a member of the Schedule Caste,” Pandit said.
Asked whether the defence team had put forth this argument when Lohagun was produced in court on July 1, Pandit said: “Then we could not produce the documents (to prove that Lohagun belongs to the SC community) in court because of various reasons. Today, we could produce the documents in court.” Sources said Lohagun does not have a Scheduled Caste certificate. The defence team, however, produced other documents like service book of Lohagun (who is a retired school teacher) and his son’s SC certificate.
Earlier, Pankaj Prasad, the public prosecutor, had said that Lohagun, who had been arrested on June 27, had been booked under Sections 447(criminal trespass), 506 (criminal intimidation) 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 34 (common intent) of the IPC. He was also charged under Section 3 (IV, V, X and XV) of the Prevention of Atrocities on Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Act along with section 25 (i) and 27 of the Arms Act.
The police had claimed on July 1 that they had recovered one round of .303 rifle live cartridge from Lohagun’s residence at Kerabari, near Bijanbari.
Today, Prasad admitted that the police had not filed an application for addition of the Arms Act charge against Lohagun. “There has been a technical error as the application was not made. The court, however, did refer to the recovery of a cartridge from his (Lohagun’s) residence and made an observation that the cartridge was recovered only in the presence of the police and that there was no independent witness,” Prasad said.
The application for addition of the Arms Act was necessitated as the original case did not include the Arms Act.
Landowner Manilal Tamang filed a case on June 17 alleging that six people armed with rods and sharp weapons had threatened him. After the arrest of the six people, the police had claimed that an improvised gun, a khukuri and a rod had been recovered. The police had also claimed that during interrogation, the six accused had said that these weapons had been supplied by Lohagun.