The Gujarat High Court on Thursday granted conditional bail to Hyderabad-based cleric Abdul Qavi, who is lodged in Sabarmati Central Jail. He was arrested in March this year in connection with the 2003 “jihadi conspiracy,” also known as “ISI conspiracy” case.
The division bench of justices A S Dave and Mohinder Pal pronounced the order granting bail to Qavi on the condition that he must record his presence at the nearest police station every month, surrender his passport to the police and submit a personal bond of Rs.50,000.
Qavi’s lawyer Benazir Hakim said that the court also granted relief to cleric on the ground of parity. She said that in 2007 two accused had been released on bail following their arrest on similar grounds in this case.
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In March this year, he was arrested by Ahmedabad Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) and was chargesheeted for “joining hands with other accused between April 2002 and April 2003 to take revenge of the loss occurred to the lives and properties to the Muslims following the communal riots in Gujarat after the Godhra train carnage.”
Qavi was booked under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), repealed in 2004, but he was absconding since the FIR was lodged in 2003. The chargesheet claimed that Qavi attended a meeting where the alleged conspiracy to send youngsters to Pakistan for terrorist training was hatched along with another absconding accused Rasool Party and Mufti Sufian Patangiya.
Qavi’s lawyer had argued that apart from his name mentioned in one of the statements of a witness there is no further proof of his involvement in the case. The special public prosecutor, however, said that there was a deep routed conspiracy to wage war against the nation to take revenge for 2002 riots. He said that in view of the magnitude and seriousness of the case the accused should not be granted bail. After his arrest from New Delhi airport, the DCB had claimed that the “jihadi conspiracy” case had also resulted in the murder of BJP leader Haren Pandya, among other cases.