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After almost 5 years in jail, Indian Mujahideen operative moves Delhi High Court for bail, speedy trial in UAPA case

The appellant and others are facing trial for the offences under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act besides other offences

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By Anany Bhatnagar

Indian Mujahideen operative Abdul Wahid Siddibapa has moved the Delhi High Court seeking bail and speedy trial in the UAPA case registered against him.

“The petitioner is suffering prolonged incarceration (about 4 years 10 months) and there is no likelihood of the trial being completed anytime in near future as charges are yet to be framed and total number of witnesses to be examined are 363,” the plea said.

“It is obvious that a timely trial would not be possible and the accused has suffered incarceration for a significant period of time,” the plea said.

By way of instant petition, the appellant is not only seeking bail on the ground of inordinate delay in trial being violative of his fundamental right to have a speedy/free/fair trial but also directions for day to day trial of the cases as mandated by Section 19 of National Investigation Agency Act, 2008.

The appellant and others are facing trial for the offences under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act besides other offences and despite there being two Special Courts constituted under Section 11 of the National Investigation Agency Act, 2008, the frequency of adjournment is more than a month thereby causing a substantial delay in the trial of such cases.

The main reason for the delay in trial is that the Special Courts in addition to the matter under UAPA are also dealing with other matters and having a heavy board.

Time and again, the right to have a speedy trial has been held to be the fundamental right of an accused as the same directly affects the life and liberty of an accused and with the object of providing a speedy and fair trial to the accused, Section 19 National Investigation Agency Act was brought in the statute book and inordinate delay in trial is a violation of the fundamental right guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution as has been held by the Supreme Court /various High Courts while extending the benefit of bail to the accused facing trial under the similar charges/ enactments.

According to the NIA, Abdul Wahid Siddibapa is a resident of Bhatkal in Karnataka and a cousin of Indian Mujahideen co-founder Yasin Bhatkal.

The NIA’s FIR lodged in September 2012 says IM members, in association with other IM sleeper cells based in the country and outside, were conspiring to commit terror acts by making preparations for targeting various important places in India, especially in Delhi by causing bomb blasts with the active aid and support from their Pakistan-based operatives and associates, thus waging war against India.
Wahid is described as the logistic manager who helped in the recruitment and finances of IM. He used to pick recruits sent by Riyaz Bhatkal from India to Dubai to help them with logistics.

Read Also: Delhi HC, District Courts to return to virtual hearings due to spike in Covid-19 cases

The plea was flied through Advocates M.S. Khan, Qausar Khan, Prashant Prakash and Ankit Karna.

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