SRINAGAR: A trial court at Baramulla on Friday granted bail to two alleged militants of Lashkar-i-Toiba on bail and commented that the accused are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty.
Sanjay Parihar, Principal Sessions Judge, Baramulla, granted bail to Nadeem Ahmad Dar and Naseer Ahmad Sheikh, both belonging to Sopore.
The police had said that on 3 May 2018 when security forces alongwith other field agencies had launched a joint operation in Drangbal/ Hajibal, they arrested two militants namely Aijaz Ahmad Gojree and Bilal Ahmad Najar, who gave information about two more militants, namely Naseer Ahmad Sheikh alias Yasir and Nadeem Ahmad Dar alias Ustaad. Naseer and Nadeem were later arrested along with arms and ammunition.
The case was registered and challaned under Section 307 RPC and Section 7/27, 7/25 Arms Act. The police further said that the chargesheet was being prepared and har been delayed because of COVID-19.
Counsels Abdul Salam Rather and Amir Masoodi representing the petitioners pressed before the trial court that the petitioners were already in custody since 5 May 2018 under Public Safety Act, which came to be overturned by the High Court on 27 December 2018 and 23 October 2018.
The counsels told the court that the whole case of prosecution was based on the premise that petitioners came to be arrested on the instance of co-accused but as per the chargesheet no recovery has been shown to be effected from the petitioners.
The counsels said there are general allegations that such and such arms have been recovered, “from whom they have recovered, it has not been disclosed.”
Judge Parihar while hearing the case said that the commission of offences have been attributed against them on the strength of statements of co-accused and it is the case of prosecution that arms and ammunition have been recovered from their possession.
The judge, however, said that already the accused have been in custody for over two years and because of the COVID-19 situation their trial is bound to get protracted.
“In that eventuality no purposeful reason will be served in keeping them behind bars, hence are directed to be released subject to furnishing of surety of Rs one lakh with the conditions that they shall not directly or indirectly tamper with the prosecution evidence (via) inducement, threat or promise to any person acquainted with the facts of the case.”
The court further directed that the accused shall not leave territorial limits of Kashmir without prior permission from the court.
While disposing the application, the court observed that due to the lockdown the surety may not be in a position to appear before court, “consequently Superintendent Jail concerned shall obtain surety bonds and personal bonds of the said value and set the petitioners at liberty provided they are not involved in any other case.”