A sessions court in Alibag, Maharashtra, on Saturday rejected the bail plea of Natioanlist Congress Party parliamentarian Padamsinh Patil arrested on charge of murder of Congress leader Pawanraje Nimbalkar.
Rejecting the bail plea, additional sessions judge Arvind Kale observed that a prima facie case was made out against Patil and offences allegedly committed by him are 'serious'.
Patil's lawyer Sirish Gupte said he is likely to file an appeal against the sessions court order.
This is for the first time Patil had sought bail since his arrest on June 6.
Gupte contended that there was hardly any material to implicate Patil in the murder of Nimbalkar, barring statements of co-accused.
Gupte argued that his client was arrested only on the basis of the statements of other arrested accused, and under the law, the evidence in the form of statements and confessions of one accused cannot be used against another.
"This is the weakest form of evidence and the prosecution cannot fully rely on it," he said.
CBI counsel Ejaz Khan opposed Patil's bail, saying he was the prime accused in the murder case and investigations had reached a crucial stage.
CBI had arrested seven persons for their alleged role in the murder of Nimbalkar and his driver in Navi Mumbai in June 2006.
Patil's counsel argued that the MP has a very strong standing in society and there could be a number of political enemies who might want to malign his image by getting him arrested.
If the court decides to grant bail, it can impose the strictest of conditions and Patil, who had no previous criminal antecedents, will abide by it, Gupte argued.
CBI counsel Ejaz Khan submitted that Patil's arrest was in a case of criminal conspiracy and double murder, which was punishable with death or life imprisonment.
Granting bail to Patil at this stage would not be proper and his bail could be considered after chargesheet was filed or when trial began.
CBI has recorded the statements of the two accused in the case, Parasmal Jain and Dinesh Tiwari, where both of them have named Patil as the main conspirator, Khan said.
Pointing out that CBI was at a crucial stage of investigations, Khan said, "Statements of both the accused is a reasonable ground to prove the MP's alleged involvement and his motive to murder Nimbalkar. The court only has to consider if prima facie a case is made out against Patil."
Gupte contended that CBI was beating around the bush and was solely banking on confessions of co-accused, which is the weakest form of evidence. Patil was influential person and so far his followers or friends had not made any attempt to tamper with evidence or hamper investigations, his lawyer argued.
Gupte said, Patil and deceased Nimbalkar had enmity and rivalry between them due to financial transactions of a sugar factory. It was just a personal enmity between two families, but that does not prove the NCP leader's involvement in the murder.
He said that while granting bail the court would have to consider whether there was direct evidence against the accused for his role in the murder of Nimbalkar and also whether Patil would present himself before the court during the trial.
Gupte further argued that Patil was in judicial custody since June 20 and so far CBI has not sought court's permission to interrogate him. This means his custody was not required and the court may consider granting him bail.