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Darjeeling court grants interim bail to GTA sabhasad Lohagun

Darjeeling : The Chief Judicial Magistrate court of Darjeeling granted interim bail to Gorkhaland Territorial Administration sabhasad Kaziman Lohagun who had been arrested on June 27 on charges of supplying weapons to six men who had apparently threatened a land owner in Jamuney. While approving his bail, Judge Biplab Kumar Roy directed Lohagun not to leave Darjeeling and to appear at the CJM court on July 21 and also asked him to pay a surety bond of Rs 2,000. The defence counsel had submitted the bail plea today. “The CJM court granted interim bail to my client with a fine. It also warned Lohagun not to intimidate the witnesses and to extend all cooperation in the investigation,” said Taranga Pandit, the defence lawyer. Lohagun, the GTA sabhasad from the Pul-Bijanbari-Goke constituency, was arrested from his residence on June 27 and sent to five days police custody. 

Three days later, interrogation of the six accused prompted the police to raid the sabhasad’s home at Kerabari and they recovered a live cartridge from his bedroom. Lohagun had been sentenced to 14 days judicial custody by the court. Earlier, an improvised gun, a khukuri and a rod were recovered from the six arrested. According to police sources, Lohagun was arrested on the basis of the statement from the six accused claiming the sabhasad could be in possession of more weapons. Lohagun has been charged under IPC Sections 447(criminal trespass), 506 (criminal intimidation) 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 34 (common intent) along with Section 3 (IV, V, X and XV) of the Prevention of Atrocities on Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Act. The Sabhasad, who also belongs to the scheduled caste community- a point his defence counsel had raised in court - has also been booked under Sections 25 (i) and 27 of the Arms Act. “Today, we submitted papers supporting the claim that Lohagun belongs to the SC community, a plea that had been rejected earlier by the court as we did not have the necessary documents then. 

As for the Arms Act, the police did not oppose or file a counter petition,” said Pandit. Assistant Public Prosecutor (APP) Pankaj Prasad said the court had taken cognisanse of Lohagun’s age and his medical condition while granting him e interim bail. “He is a senior citizen and a diabetic and was in hospital. Further, the SC and ST Act is not applicable as the defence produced relevant documents to support the claim,” he said, adding the court had observed there was no independent witness. Nine landowners of Jamuney have lodged a complaint against the GTA for allegedly acquiring their land (13.8 acres) forcibly. The GTA has plans to develop Jamuney into a tourist spot, but part of the project where work is to start falls under the disputed plots. Six persons have also been arrested for threatening one of the land losers, while GTA chief executive Bimal Gurung, whose name also figures in the compliant, has been charged under the Prevention of Atrocities on Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Act. 

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