Bombay HC grants pre-arrest bail to I-T staffer accused of robbing 'angadia' co...

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Mumbai: The Bombay high court has granted anticipatory bail to a staff of the income tax department accused of conspiring with others who posed as officials and robbed more than Rs15 lakh and 20 mobile phones from an “angadia” courier.

Angadia couriers primarily ferry diamonds, gold ornaments and cash belonging to traders from one place to another. They mostly operate between Mumbai and various cities in Gujarat.

The multi-task staffer of the income tax department was accused of conspiring with outsiders, who posed as income tax officers and carried out a fake raid on the angadia courier.

Justice Bharati Dangre granted pre-arrest bail to the staffer, Jyotish Kumar Sinha, on Friday primarily because the other accused in the case have been granted bail by a sessions court and a substantial part of the of the money that was stolen has been recovered.

Police in Lokmanya Tilak Marg registered a first information report (FIR) in connection with the offence and booked Sinha along with some others, including an income tax officer and an informant of the department identified as Premchand Jaiswal.

According to the FIR, at about 5.30pm on December 2, 2019, seven to eight people barged into the courier’s office, claiming they were income tax officers. They asked the firm’s employees to sit in a corner and took away their mobile phones. The gang escaped with the office with more than Rs15 lakh and about 20 mobile phones.

Soon after the fake raid, employees of the firm realised the members of the raiding party were not income tax officers and that they had been robbed, and one of them filed a complaint with police.

Assistant public prosecutor Veera Shinde opposed Sinha’s pre-arrest bail plea, pointing out that CCTV footage collected during the investigation showed that the multi-task staffer was present near the building and was seen conversing with the main accused, Premchand Jaiswal, who was arrested. She also said that call data records showed Sinha was in touch with Jaiswal and income tax officer Gautam Mehta, also an accused in the crime.

The argument, however, failed to impress the judge, who noted that the Fir referred to seven to eight people barging into the courier company’s office and described four of them by referring to their clothes and their physical appearance. “However, no identification parade, which was imperative, was admittedly done,” said the judge.

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