The high court on Tuesday granted bail on health grounds to Mamta Agarwal, charged with the murder of two men during an alleged attempt to grab 9A Short Street where she lived and ran a playschool.
The division bench of Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee and Justice Shib Sadhan Sadhu, which granted bail to Mamta, ruled that the accused could not enter any place under the jurisdiction of Shakespeare Sarani and Park Street police stations.
9A is under Shakespeare Sarani police station. “Since Park Street police station is adjacent to Shakespeare Sarani, the accused has been barred from both police station areas,” said an officer.
Mamta will also have to deposit her passport in the court and furnish a bail bond of Rs 10,000.
“Having considered the case diary and the materials on record... and the petitioner, being a lady, who is critically unwell and is undergoing treatment at Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals and considering the fact that the petitioner is in custody for 127 days, we do not think that further detention of the petitioner is necessary,” the bench ruled.
The 36-year-old was shifted to the Bypass hospital from the Alipore women’s jail 12 days ago. She is suffering from respiratory tract and urinary tract infections. “A test is planned for tomorrow to detect the cause of infection in the urinary tract,” said a hospital official. “Her condition is otherwise stable,” the official said.
A copy of the high court order is expected to arrive at the chief metropolitan magistrate’s office on Wednesday. It will be handed over to the Alipore jail authorities, who can then release the accused from custody.
Mamta and two guards she had hired — Shafique Ahmed and Pramod Sau — were arrested hours after the alleged trespass early on November 11 that led to two bouncers’ death.
The trio have been charged with murder, attempt to murder and common intention. If convicted, they can be sentenced to death. Mamta is the first in the case to get bail.
The police said Mamta and the guards opened fire after a group comprising bouncers and others barged into 9A Short Street apparently in an attempt to evict the residents.
Mamta, however, claimed that she fired in self-defence after the intruders tried to outrage her modesty.
Public prosecutor Manjit Singh opposed the bail plea, submitting that “free and fair probe” would be affected if the accused was out of custody. Defence lawyer Phiroze Edulji countered: “The chargesheet has been submitted and investigation is over. She won’t leave the country without the court’s permission.”
The police had filed the chargesheet against the trio on February 6, within 88 days of the incident. Sources said that considering the severity of the charges against Mamta and the guards, the sleuths would have wanted a “custody trial”.
“A murder accused usually does not get bail. A custody trial (in which the accused is/are in custody) is preferrable as it prevents tampering of evidence. Mamta’s medical condition tilted the case in her favour,” said a senior police officer.