In jail since 2020, Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan was granted bail in one of the cases against him on Tuesday. However, he is unlikely to be released because of a fresh case filed by the police a few days ago.
The Allahabad High Court granted Mr Khan bail in a land grab case, days after a sharp rebuke by the Supreme Court.
A prominent Muslim face of the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party and among its strongest leaders, Mr Khan had a host of cases filed against him after the BJP came to power in UP. He still managed to win the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from Rampur and the 2022 state polls from jail.
Of the 88 cases registered against him in recent years, the 73-year-old got bail in 86 cases earlier. Although he made bail in the 87th case on Tuesday, another case was filed days ago by the UP Police against him.
The Supreme Court on Friday had expressed displeasure over the delay in deciding the bail application of Mr Khan in the land grab case, saying "this is a travesty of justice".
Justices L Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai had noted that Mr Khan has got bail in 86 out of 87 cases, and said it would hear the matter this Wednesday.
"He (Khan) has been out on bail in all matters except one for so long, this is a travesty of justice. We will not say anything more. We will hear it on Wednesday," the bench said.
A day before the Supreme Court rebuke, the Allahabad High Court had reserved its order on the bail application of Mr Khan in the case of grabbing enemy property for his Mohammad Ali Jauhar University project.
The High Court had first reserved its order in the case on December 4, 2021 but the state government later submitted an application and sought permission to present some new facts through fresh affidavits.
The FIR in the case was lodged against Mr Khan and others for alleged grabbing of enemy property and misappropriation of hundreds of crores of in public money.
It was alleged in the FIR that during partition, one Imamuddin Qureshi went to Pakistan and his land was recorded as enemy property, but Mr Khan in collusion with others grabbed the 13.842-hectare plot.
Earlier, the top court in February had refused interim bail to Mr Khan for campaigning in the Uttar Pradesh elections and asked him to approach the court concerned for expeditious disposal.
The plea filed by Mr Khan had contended that the state has adopted all means available to intentionally delay the proceedings to ensure that he is incarcerated during the recently held Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.