A trial court had last November sentenced Kalani, a former political strongman from Ulhasnagar whose family still has considerable sway, to life imprisonment in the 1990 murder of a BJP activist. The court had held him guilty of "being behind the conspiracy to kill" the BJP activist Inder Bhateja.
Kalani had moved the HC for bail. The state which had opposed Kalani's bail plea in the high court, rushed to the SC in appeal when it lost. Kalani, it said has 34 other criminal cases pending against him and his release on bail would be detrimental. Kalani's lawyer on the other hand said he has been behind bars for nine years and it should be considered a ground for his release on bail pending appeal.
A three judge bench headed by the Chief Justice P Sathasivam, taking into consideration the many pending cases against the former politician, stayed the bail and said all submissions would be considered at the hearing later. It issued notice and asked for Kalani's reply to the state's appeal.
The Maharashtra government was represented by counsel Rajiv Mohite. Its argument even in the high court had been that Kalani hd misused his liberty after he had been granted bail earlier by the Supreme Court during the trial. He had allegedly been involved in several crimes while on bail, it said.
In the Bombay HC a bench headed by Justice Naresh Patil had asked Kalani (63) to furnish a surety of Rs one lakh and report to Kalyan police once a fortnight last Friday while ordering his release on bail. The court however restrained Kalani from entering Ulhasnagar town.
Bhatija was shot dead in April 1990, two months after his brother Ghanshyam was gunned down. That year, Kalani was contesting the assembly elections from the Ulhasnagar constituency as a Congress candidate, while the Bhateja brothers were backing the BJP candidate, Sheetaldas Harchandani.