New Delhi, Nov 2 (PTI) The Supreme Court on Friday granted interim bail for a week to former Inspector General of Police (IGP) Zahur Haider Zaidi, an accused in a case relating to the custodial death of a man who was among those arrested on charge of gang-raping a minor school girl in Kotkhai in Shimla district last year.

Zaidi had moved the apex court against the Himachal Pradesh High Court order refusing to grant him bail in the case.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi allowed the application of Zaidi for interim bail on the grounds that he has to attend the rituals of Chhehalum to be held from November 6 to 8, 2018 in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.

The counsel appearing for Zaidi said his mother had passed away while he was in jail and he seeks to participate in the post-death rituals.

“Taking into account the grounds on which the limited/ interim bail has been prayed for we are of the view that the same should be allowed. We order accordingly. The accused petitioner will be released from Kanda jail, Shimla where he is presently lodged in the morning of November 4, 2018 and will report back to the Jailor/Superintendent concerned on November 11, 2018 in the course of the day,” the bench said.

The regular bail application of Zaidi is scheduled to come up for hearing on November 13.

The apex court had earlier sought response from the CBI on the appeal of Zaidi against the January 19 order of the Himachal Pradesh High Court.

The High Court had dismissed Zaidi’s bail plea, saying it would not be appropriate to release him on bail at this stage as the alleged crime was of serious nature and a detailed investigation was required in the case.

Zaidi and seven others were arrested in the custodial death case of Suraj, who was found dead in the Kotkhai police station on July 18.

The CBI has already filed the charge sheet against the accused.

A 16-year-old girl had gone missing in the Kotkhai on July 4, last year and her body was found from the Halaila forests on July 6, last year.

The post-mortem report had confirmed rape and murder and a case was registered.

Amid huge public outcry in the state, an SIT headed by Zaidi was constituted by the then Virbhadra Singh-led Congress government.

The SIT arrested six persons, one of whom died in police station, following which the High Court handed over the investigations of both cases to the CBI on July 19.

The CBI had arrested the then IGP Zahur Haidar Zaidi and DSP (Theog) Manoj Joshi alongwith six other policemen with regard to the custodial death.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.