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SC cancels bail to man accused of spreading ISIS ideology, asks trial court to wrap case in a year

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a bail application filed by a man allegedly accused of committing offences under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention Act), 1967, for discussing, advocating, disseminating ISIS ideology on social media or sharing social media links that supported ISIS ideology.

The matter was listed before the bench led by the Chief Justice N.V. Ramana where Senior Counsel Siddhartha Dave argued on behalf of accused that he has spent 4 years in jail and the only allegation was that he was recruiting some people for ISIS, and therefore UAPA was invoked.

The bench, which also comprised of Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, stated that allegations are serious in nature and at this stage it cannot discard the evidence against you which pertains to WhatsApp chats related to killing people of other religion, etc.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta added that allegation are serious in nature against the accused. Dave objected and said, “I never traveled to Syria. Its all based on WhatsApp and Facebook chats. It’s a violation of my rights as an undertrial also. You can’t keep a person behind bars forever.”

The bench then asked SG about the reason for delay in the trial. SG Mehta said they (accused persons) are challenging every single order passed by the Court and that is the main reason for delay in trial.

Therefore, the bench refused to grant any relief to accused and cancelled his bail application. However, the bench directed the trial court to complete trial in one year.

The Top Court was hearing an appeal against the dismissal of bail application by the Gujarat High Court which had categorically noted that, “From the reports/charge­sheet papers filed against the applicant, this Court is of the opinion that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the accusation against the applicant is prima­ facie true and, therefore, looking to the proviso contained in the aforesaid sub­section, the applicant cannot be enlarged on bail pending trial.”

“The State has made out a prima­-facie case against the applicant. Serious allegations are levelled against the applicant and there is sufficient material against the applicant in the investigation papers and, therefore, as per the provisions contained in Section 43D(5), the applicant cannot be enlarged on bail. This Court has also considered the punishment prescribed for the alleged offences and the respondent State has shown apprehension that if the applicant is enlarged on bail, there are all chances that he will tamper with the evidence and would not be available at the time of trial,” the High Court had added.

The applicant/accused Ubed Ahmed @ Ubaid Mirza @ Obed Mirza has filed the present appeal and sought regular bail in connection with FIR being C.R. No.I­04 of 2017 registered with ATS Police Station, District Ahmedabad, for offence under Sections 13, 17, 18, 38 and 39 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 and under Sections 120(B), 121(A) and 125 of the Indian Penal Code.

According to the order passed by the Gujarat High Court, the broad allegations as levelled against the applicant in the FIR are as under; Through the human and technical resources of the ATS, it came to their knowledge that the applicant was radicalized by the philosophy of IS/ISIS by Safi Armar @ Al Hindi of Syria/Iraq and Abdullah Al Faizal of Jamaica. The applicant was discussing, advocating, disseminating ISIS ideology on social media or sharing social media links that supported ISIS ideology and talking about it to a few of his friends including original accused No.1 Kasim.

The applicant in some intercepted mobile/WhatsApp communications talked about his wish/desire to buy a pistol, if available in reasonable price, about the possible generation of funds through smuggling of cigarettes, gold or old cars. Original accused No.1 was planning to carry out a lone wolf attack at a synagogue in Ahmedabad. The accused persons tried to support four youths from Hyderabad to cross Bangladesh border but they were caught in 2014 at Kolkata. Therefore, the FIR is lodged against the applicant and other accused person named in the FIR.

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