The Bombay High Court on Tuesday rejected the plea of 26/11 Mumbai terror attack prime accused Syed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, who sought quashing of a state Government Resolution (GR) prohibiting him from appearing in courts on account of a threat to his life.
Appearing for Jundal, his lawyer Ejaz Naqvi told a division bench of Justices N H Patil and Anuja Prabhudessai that it was his client’s constitutional right to defend himself in the cases against him.
State government’s lawyer Jayesh Yagnik argued, “Who will take responsibility if something happens to him?” The court observed that there were several criminal cases pending against Jundal, including the 26/11 terror attack, the Aurangabad Arms Haul and a conspiracy to attack the police training camp in Nashik.
“In view of the sensitive nature of the cases, there may be danger to Jundal’s life as informed by the police to the state and, therefore, the court cannot interfere by quashing the GR,” said the judges. The court also said the trial court had the powers to call him whenever necessary.
Yagnik said the Mumbai Police Commissioner had informed the state government that there was a threat to Jundal’s life. Subsequently, on May 23, 2013, the government issued the GR. Yagnik told the bench that there was a video conferencing option available for producing Jundal before the court.
Jundal, in his plea, said, “The impugned GR was contrary to the fundamental right of public hearing and a free and fair trial. Hence, it was void, vague, unconstitutional and arbitrary.”
According to the Mumbai Police, Jundal was one of the key conspirators in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. A native of Beed district of Maharashtra, Jundal was deported from Saudi Arabia in June 2012.
Mumbai terror attacks of November 2008 left 166 dead and several people injured. As per the chargesheet in the case, after fleeing Maharashtra, Jundal reportedly entered Bangladesh in May 2006,where he was received by an ISI agent. He then used a boarding pass issued on a fictitious name to fly on a PIA flight to Pakistan.