Srinagar: The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh on Thursday granted bail to an alleged conspirator who was accused of abetting in the disappearance/murder of one Sajjad Ahmad Bazaz way back in 1992 at the hands of BSF forces.
The court said that the petitioner/accused, Azad Ahmed Mir, was facing a serious charge of conspiracy and abetting disappearance/murder of detenue Sajjad Ahmad Bazaz, who was picked up by a BSF party of 30th Bn headed by Deputy Commandant Dilip Singh Rathore on 12 December, 1992.
The victim was not traced dead or alive and the investigating agency presumed him dead and registered FIR against the Deputy Commandant for Bazaz’s disappearance and killing in custody. The petitioner was also booked for conspiracy and abetment of crime.
Justice Sanjeev Kumar noted that the petitioner had been arraigned in the crime because of his previous enmity with the detenue and the fact that he on the fateful day was accompanying the BSF personnel and it was only on his identification that Bazaz was picked up.
“Undoubtedly, charges against the petitioner are serious but this Court cannot lose sight of the fact that the prime accused in the disappearance/killing of the detenue, namely, Dilip Singh Rathore, has been let off and held not guilty by the BSF court,” Justice Kumar recorded.
He further recorded that the Government of India, too, has declined to grant sanction for his prosecution to the Crime Branch.
“The main culprit, who has allegedly caused disappearance of the detenue while he was in his captivity, has been let off and is a free man and the petitioner is facing trial,” Justice Kumar said.
“In view of the aforesaid facts and circumstances, I am of the view that the petitioner, who is a married person and has children to support, need not be kept in incarceration, more so when his presence during trial can be ensured by stringent terms and conditions,” the judge noted.
Justice Kumar said that the petitioner is, thus, entitled to bail and is directed to be released from custody subject to furnishing of bail bond in the amount of Rs 1 lakh and two local sureties of the same amount to the satisfaction of the trial court.
But the petitioner shall not leave the Territory of J&K without prior permission of the trial court, the judge said.
“That the petitioner shall not interfere or influence the prosecution witnesses in any manner and shall not come in contact with the prosecution witnesses directly or indirectly while he shall appear before the trial court on each and every date of hearing unless he has been specifically exempted for a particular date by the trial court,” the court recorded in the order.
It was recorded that violation of any of the conditions aforesaid shall entail cancellation of bail and the trial court shall be free to consider such cancellation, if violation of terms and conditions aforesaid is brought to its notice.
Meanwhile, Justice Kumar declined to quash the charge sheet framed and trial proceedings against the accused.
The judge said it was sufficient to say that there is material for proceeding against the petitioner for offences with which he has been charged. It is not the case where the charges are required to be quashed and challan dismissed.
“For the foregoing reasoning, I am not inclined to interfere with the ongoing trial against the petitioner nor do I find any legal infirmity in the charges framed,” the judge said.