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Delhi HC grants bail to Indian Mujahideen co-founder in UAPA case

The High Court said, "Merely because the allegations against the appellant are serious in nature, cannot be taken as the sole ground for declining such relief provided under Section 436-A Cr.P.C."

The Delhi High Court on Friday granted statutory bail to Indian Mujahideen’s (IM) co-founder Abdul Subhan Qureshi in an Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act UAPA case.

The High Court said, “Merely because the allegations against the appellant are serious in nature, cannot be taken as the sole ground for declining such relief provided under Section 436-A Cr.P.C.”

A Division bench comprising justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Manoj Jain granted relief to Qureshi after considering the facts including the period spent in the custody and submissions for the case.

The Division bench said, “Keeping in Mind the overall facts and circumstances of the case and also keeping in mind the incarceration period, we hereby allow the appeal and direct that the appellant be released on bail on the terms and conditions to be imposed by learned Trial Court.”

“We are also conscious of the fact that all co-accused in the present case are already on bail and the case is at the stage of recording prosecution evidence and the prosecution has already examined eight witnesses. There are 53 cited prosecution witnesses and therefore, it cannot be said that trial is likely to be concluded in the near future,” the High Court observed in the order passed on May 10.

The High Court, however, clarified that In case there is any violation of any condition imposed by the learned Trial Court or the appellant attempts to threaten or influence any witness, directly or indirectly, or attempts to delay the trial, it would be open to the prosecution to seek cancellation of bail, without any reference to this Court.

Abdul Subhan Qureshi moved the High Court seeking statutory bail in a UAPA case. As per Delhi police he was editor of publication at SIMI. He was one of the co-founders of Indian Mujahideen (IM).

He has sought bail on the ground that he has undergone a period of incarceration of 4 years and 10 months. He has around 40 cases against him and was arrested in this case in June 2019.

A division bench comprising justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Manoj Jain, on April 29, issued notice to Delhi Police and called for a status report on the petition moved by Abdul Subhan Qureshi.

Advocate Prashant Prakash appeared for the petitioner. He submitted that the petitioner has been in custody for the last 4 years and 10 months. The offence for which he has been charged has a maximum punishment of five years.

The petition was opposed by the Additional Public Prosecutor (APP) claiming that the appellant had earlier been declared a Proclaimed Offender (PO) and he came to be arrested in the present case only when he had been apprehended in another case.

It was also claimed that there are four other matters in which he continues to be in judicial custody and, therefore, the learned Trial Court had rightly dismissed his application seeking bail under Section 436 A Cr. P.C.

The bench noted that in the present case, charges have already been ascertained and the accused has been charged for offences under Sections 120B, 153A, 153B IPC and under Sections 10 and 13 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

It was also admitted by Learned APP that Section 43D(5) of UAPA does not stand attracted as he has not been charged with any offences punishable under Chapter IV or Chapter VI of UAPA.

The maximum sentence for the grave-most offence with which he has been charged, would be 7 years and his incarceration period in the present case is almost touching 05 years, the APP admitted.

“Undoubtedly, the bail cannot be claimed as a matter of right under Section 436-A Cr.P.C. Fact remains that the said provision was introduced with a particular purpose and recognizes the right of any Under Trial Prisoners (UTP) to be released on bail in case his incarceration has extended up to half of the maximum period of the imprisonment specified. Of course, as per the proviso attached to Section 436-A Cr.P.C., the detention can be continued even for a longer period, for the reasons to be recorded in writing,” the division bench observed.

He is one of the alleged co-founders of Indian Mujahideen and used to be called Osama Bin Laden of India. His bail plea was dismissed by the trial court in December 2023 given the gravity of the offences and his previous conduct.

He is an accused in a case registered in 2021 and was arrested in this case after his arrest in another case in 2018.

He has been charged under sections 153 A, 153B read with 120 B of IPC, and sections 10 and 13 of UAPA. He was a member of SIMI.

The organisation was banned by the Central Government in the year 2001.

(This news report is published from a syndicated feed. Except for the headline, the content has not been written or edited by OpIndia staff)

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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