SRINAGAR: A court here has granted bail to chairperson of Dukhtaran-e-Millat Asiya Andrabi in a case registered against her along with chairman Hurriyat Conference (G) Syed Ali Geelani and Hizb chief Syed Salahudin in 2002.
According to a report filed by police before the court, the case (FIR 50/2002 under section 120-B RPC and 3,6,22 POTA) was registered on 24 May 2002 on the basis of information received by station house officer Khanyar from “reliable sources” that one Imtiyaz Ahmad Bazaz has close association with various militant outfits and that he, under a well thought-out conspiracy with certain persons abroad and within the state, has been carrying out the “object” of the militant outfits by receiving money from abroad and using it for carrying the militant activities.
The investigation was entrusted to SP City South Srinagar and police arrested Bazaz. Subsequently, police said, involvement of DeM chief Asiya Andrabi, chairman Hurriyat Conference (G) Syed Ali Geelani, Dr Ayoub Thakur, based in London, and Mohammad Yousuf Shah alias Salahuddin, who is the chief commander of Hizbul-Mujahideen, surfaced.
During the pendency of the case, POTA was repealed by government of India and police substituted the offence with 13 unlawful activities Act.
Special Public Prosecutor argued that Asiya should be sent to police custody as she was required for investigation in the case.
Advocate Mir Shafaqat Hussain, representing Asiya, said that she has already surrendered before the court and when an accused surrenders, bail can be granted to him under section 497 CrPC. He said that Asiya is ill and was under treatment of doctors at Soura. Shafaqat also argued that the case pertains to 2002 and the investigation has been completed, Asiya should be released on bail.
What court said
After hearing both the sides and perusing case diaries, the City Munsiff (Judicial Magistrate First Class), Sheikh Gowhar Hussain said: “The statement of witnesses conversant with the facts and circumstances of the case have already been recorded so the accused (Asiya) is not required for any investigation purpose.”
Furthermore, the court said, police has not taken steps to arrest her since 2002.
“It is clear from section 497-A Cr.P.C. that if the accused surrenders before court, bail can be granted to him,” the court said, underlining that the main purpose of the detention in police or judicial custody is that the accused may not jump over the bail or thwart the investigation.
“The accused has herself surrendered before the court which shows that (she) being state subject have deep roots in the society so there is least chance of (her) fleeing from justice or thwarting the investigation. So (her) personal liberty cannot be curtailed as a means of punishment based on police report which will amount to pre-trial punishment,” the court said and granted bail to Asiya subject to furnishing of bail bonds for Rs 20000 and one surety of like amount. The court also imposed certain condition of Asiya, asking her not to leave court’s jurisdiction without its prior permission. She has been also asked to appear before the investigation officer as and when required with regard to the case.