SC restrains state cops from arresting accused in Red Sanders case

SC restrains state cops from arresting accused in Red Sanders case

The Supreme Court has restrained the Karnataka police from arresting a man from Ballari, accused of violating the Karnataka Forest Act by storing over 400 kg of 'Raktha Chandana' (Red Sanders) billets.

A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan on Monday issued notice to the state government on a petition filed by 34-year-old Abdul Nayeem alias Nayeem Ahmad, seeking anticipatory bail.

A counsel, representing the petitioner, contended that a co-accused has already been granted anticipatory bail by the principal sessions judge, Ballari.

Nayeem sought parity with the co-accused. He also contended it has been observed by the trial court that 'Raktha Chandana' wood is not sandalwood and therefore provisions of the Karnataka Forest Act could not be attracted in the matter.

On his plea, the court sought response from the state government. It also directed, "Till the next date of hearing the petitioner shall not be arrested."

Nayeem challenged the Karnataka High Court's order of January 23, rejecting his petition for anticipatory bail in the FIR registered by the Ballari Rural police, last year on a complaint by a DySP that he had illegally stored 'Raktha Chandana' wood at a plot in industrial area at Mundaragi on the outskirts of Ballari.

It was also alleged that he had transported the forest product without permit and licence. Over 417 kg of such produce worth Rs 12.53 lakh was recovered.

The high court had dismissed his plea after the state counsel contended that he was a habitual offender involved in cutting and transporting forest wood without permit and licence, thereby causing danger to nature.

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