NIA files plea in Delhi HC challenging trial court order rejecting extension of police custody of accused in J-K militancy case

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New Delhi, Dec 25: A petition has been filed in Delhi High Court by the National Investigation Agency challenging a trial court order which rejected the application filed by the probe agency earlier seeking further extension of police custody of three accused in connection with a case relating to militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.

Police custody for the three accused persons – Owais Ahmad Dar, Arif Farooq Bhat, and Kamran Ashraf Reshi, was sought for confronting the accused persons with their social media and phone data to unearth the larger conspiracy.

NIA also apprised the Delhi HC that the data from the electronic devices of accused persons is often not received in time from CERT-In and CFSL, as a result of which confronting the accused with all relevant evidence is not possible within the first 30 days, especially in cases of large and complex international conspiracies.

According to the petition, on November 27, Patiala House Court’s Principal District and Sessions Judge has rejected the application filed by NIA, seeking police custody in respect of certain accused persons on the ground under the second provision in Section 43D(2)(b) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA). The accused was on police remand and 30 days from the first remand have been expired.

“Indisputably, the police custody in respect of each of the accused persons has been granted for a period less than the maximum period of 30 days as permitted by the UAPA,” NIA said in its petition.

NIA submitted that the order is contrary to the legislative intent of Section 43D(2)(b) the UAPA which unequivocally allows the police to seek remand of the accused of the purposes of investigation, till the upper limit of 30 days is reached with intervals in between till the time accused remains in custody in terms of the provision.

“The impugned order is also contrary to the law laid down by the Supreme Court in Maulavi Hussein Haji Abraham Umarji v. State of Gujarat, (2004) 6 SCC 672 in the context of Section 49(2)(b) of Prevention of Militancy Act, 2002 (“POTA”) which is ‘pari materia’ to Section 43D(2)(b) where the Supreme Court rejected the conclusion of the Single Judge,” the NIA said.

NIA also said in its petition that the present case has arisen in the backdrop of the recent spurt in terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir. A complaint was registered by the NIA on October 10 pertaining to a large-scale conspiracy funded and controlled by international terror groups and their affiliates in India to spread terror in Jammu and Kashmir.

Therefore, NIA has sought to quash the order dated November 27 passed by the trial court.

The matter was listed before a bench on hearing on December 23 but since the concerned judge was on leave, the matter is fixed for hearing on January 3, 2022. –(ANI)

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