Cricketer Sreesanth’s friend Abhishek Shukla, arrested for allegedly removing the money and articles from the cricketer’s hotel room, was on Thursday granted bail by a court here which rejected the Delhi Police plea to send him to judicial custody.

Shukla, working as a manager in a private firm, was granted bail by the court on a personal bond of Rs. 25,000 and a surety of the like amount. He was directed to surrender his passport, not to leave his residence in Mumbai and join the probe.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) Lokesh Kumar Sharma rejected the prosecution’s plea to remand him to judicial custody as it was of the view that police has failed to convince that Shukla was a part of the IPL spot-fixing scandal.

Shukla’s counsel Ankur Jain moved a bail plea, saying he was not a part of the conspiracy. He is the first person who has been granted bail in the spot fixing case.

The Special Cell of Delhi Police had arrested Shukla on Wednesday. He is accused of removing money from Sreesanth’s hotel room in Mumbai immediately after his arrest on behalf of co-accused Jiju Janardhan.

The court also asked the police to explain how Shukla was taken to Mumbai on Wednesday without its permission.

To this, the prosecutor said Shukla was taken out of Delhi as there were certain compelling circumstances and recoveries had to be made.

During the hearing, the police said Shukla used to pay bills of Sreesanth and accompanied him to stations where he played matches and Rs 5.5 lakh removed from Sreesanth’s room has been recovered from him.

The court, however, said, “Paying bills on other person’s behalf or accompanying them to stations is not a criminal act in the statute. No criminal liability can be fastened to him.”

The CMM also said at the most Shukla can be booked for removal or destruction of evidence.

The prosecution opposed Shukla’s bail plea, saying in the light of his conduct of removing articles from Sreesanth’s room after his arrest, he should not be granted bail.

The court, however, said, “Since the offence itself is bailable, the conspiracy to commit the offence would also be bailable.”

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