The Meghalaya High Court has granted conditional bail to four owners of coke factories operating in Shallang area of West Khasi Hills. The four persons were arrested in June for illegally running the coke plants.
In an order passed today, Justice Wanlura Diengdoh granted bail to Kuldeep Kumar Bansal, Anil Arya, Heimonmi Nongtdu and Bina Marak with a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh each with one solvent surety each of the same amount.
The High Court also directed the four persons not to abscond or tamper with the evidence or witnesses, to cooperate with the investigation and not to leave the jurisdiction of the State of Assam and Meghalaya except with prior permission of the Investigating Officer or the court concerned, if they have to go beyond such jurisdiction.
The High Court also cited the Supreme Court’s order dated August 28, 2023 which allowed the plea for bail of a coke plant owner on the ground that the prosecution has found it unnecessary for the accused person to be incarcerated in custody.
It may be mentioned that an FIR dated December 17, 2022 was lodged before the Officer-in-Charge, Shallang Police Station by the Sub-Divisional Officer (Civil), Mawshynrut Civil Sub-Division indicating about the ongoing process of shutting down of 57 illegal coke plants within West Khasi Hills District for which steps were duly taken by the authorities concerned to find out the owners of such coke plants and to proceed against such owners in accordance with law.
Accordingly, a case was registered at Shallang Police Station under Sections 188, 34, 379, 120B of IPC read with Sections 3(1) and 21(1) of MMDR Act, read with Section 15 of Environment (Protection) Act and Section 3 of Explosive Substances Act.
In the course of investigation, the Investigating Officer had summoned the four accused persons to appear before him as per notice dated May 29, 2023 issued to them under Section 41-A of CrPC.
In such course, the Investigating Officer has thought it fit to arrest the accused person therein and to remand him to judicial custody. The four persons then approached the High Court with the applications for grant of bail to them.