Srinagar: A trial court at Srinagar Wednesday heard partial arguments on the charges framed against journalist Asif Sultan and other nine accused in a case involving allegations of “hatching criminal conspiracy, harbouring militant and giving support to the proscribed militant organisation”.
The TADA court after hearing the partial arguments from defence counsel Abdullah Pandith called for perusal of the file and directed the case to be listed on April 3.
Sultan and other accused were brought before court wherein their counsel pressed that if the accused have hatched a conspiracy “let the prosecution bring the material before court”.
“Is there anything on record which proves that they have conspired,” the counsel stated.
On February 6 this year, police filed a chargesheet before court U/S 120-B read with 34, 302,307,326, RPC, 7/27 IA Act,16,18,19,20,38 & 39 of ULA(P) Act and substantive offences thereof subsequent to obtaining necessary government sanction for prosecution under ULA(P)Act.
Police has alleged that the accused had provided shelter to militants, who escaped after a police constable was killed in a shootout in Batamaloo on August 12, 2018.
“They have been charged for their alleged role in hatching a criminal conspiracy for the militant act, harbouring militants and giving support to the proscribed organisation besides substantive offences of law,” the police had said in a statement.
Journalist bodies in Kashmir have insisted that Sultan was falsely framed because of some of his reporting about militant activities. International journalistic watch dogs have called for immediate release of Sultan.
“Detaining a journalist without any serious evidence to support the charges against him is unacceptable,” Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk, had said in a statement.