Free Press Journal

Bombay High Court discharges businessman in Sunil Lahoria murder case


Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has discharged a Navi Mumbai-based businessman from the murder case of builder Sunil Kumar Lahoria, observing that there were no sufficient grounds for the case to proceed against him.

Justice A M Badar last week discharged Bhupesh Gupta, who runs a cable business, after holding that the chargesheet filed by the police and the witness statements do not conclusively reveal his role in the murder case. Gupta had approached the high court seeking to be discharged from the case after a sessions court rejected his application in July.

In his plea, Gupta argued that his case and role, as alleged by the prosecution, was similar to another accused Sumeet Bachewar, who has been discharged from the case.

Gupta’s counsel argued that his client was into cable business and had no connection to the businesses of builders and developers. According to the prosecution, Gupta was in collusion with co-accused and builder Suresh Bijlani and was providing cable connections to buildings constructed by Bijlani.

“In the case in hand, bare glance at the sessions court order will show that the same is perverse and is suffering from total non-application of mind,” Justice Badar said in his order discharging Gupta. He noted that no witness statement even remotely reveal any incriminating material against Gupta.

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“From the witness statements and other evidence, it appears that the petitioner (Gupta) used to just visit co-accused Suresh Bijlani’s office. By mere visits and meeting with a co-accused, such visitor cannot be said to be one of the conspirators,” the court said. “There is no material even to suggest remotely that prior to the incident or after the incident, Bhupesh Gupta contacted co-accused Suresh Bijlani or any other accused,” the court said, adding that even the chargesheet does not reveal any role of Gupta in the conspiracy.

Sunil Lahoria, the Navi Mumbai-based builder, was shot by some men outside his office in February 2013. He died later in a hospital. A total of 14 persons were arrested in connection with the case and booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for murder and criminal conspiracy.