A ray of hope for arrested Czech tourists


DARJEELING – The two Czech nationals were visibly relieved when the chief judicial magistrate court declared in their third hearing today that an interim bail could be granted if somebody provided security for their bail. “Our lawyers will immediately correspond with the Czech embassy in Delhi regarding the matter. In fact our ambassador who was here recently personally assured that we will not avoid trial if granted bail”, entomologist Petr Svacha was quick to respond.

For that purpose the court deferred the next hearing of the Czech entomologist and his companion Emil Kucera arrested for collecting rare insect species from Singalila National Park to 23 July.

The unavailability of official records and the absence of a defence lawyer due to cease work of lawyers coupled with indefinite closure of government offices proved the earlier two hearings to be futile. As the shutdown was lifted from today the case progressed this far with required documents.

Though they claim their purpose of visit as “partly tourists and partly to collect insects for research purpose” the duo travelled to India on a tourist visa. “Darjeeling lies in the foothills of the Himalayas and the 3 species of insects we were looking for biogenetic purposes is found here. We could have gone to Nepal or Bhutan but since Kucera knew this place well we opted to come here”, Mr. Svacha said. Moreover the fact that during three times of his visit to India in 1999, 2003 and 2008 Mr. Kucera procured three different passports and despite his 2003 passport being valid till 2009 he got yet another passport for his visit this year, this makes his position doubtful. “In our country it’s normal to get new passports if they are in a bad condition or get lost”, explained Mr. Kucera.

The Czech ambassador for India who visited them last week also admitted that: “Importance of proper documents could not be undermined no matter how long it takes to procure them”.

According to court sources the lawyers may withdraw their cease work in a meeting tomorrow. “The decision to withdraw the cease work rests entirely on our meeting tomorrow. In case we withdraw the cease work I will do my best to secure a bail for the Czech national lodged in jail for the past one month”, assured defence lawyer Mr. Taranga Pandit.