The Bombay High Court has recently rejected an application filed by accused in the 2002-03 Mumbai blasts, Ateef Mulla, who had sought issuance of a fresh passport to allow him to travel to Saudi Arabia for 15 days to perform the pilgrimage of Umrah. Mulla is currently out on bail. The court had, on August 10, 2016, suspended the operation of the substantive sentence and granted him bail.
While granting bail to Mulla on a surety of Rs 1.5 lakh, a division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Amjad Sayed had also asked the registry to ensure that his passport was seized. Other conditions included that he would appear before the special Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) court on the first Monday of every month for the next two years and after that every first Monday of January and July till pending of his appeal against the conviction.
Rejecting Mulla’s application for fresh passport, Justice A A Sayed said, “We find that the applicant (Mulla) has been convicted for serious offences. He has been granted bail with stringent conditions. In these circumstances, we are not inclined to grant the reliefs sought. The application shall accordingly stand rejected.” Ateef Mulla was sentenced to undergo imprisonment for ten years under various sections of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002, and the Arms Act, 1959.
Appearing for Mulla, advocate Mubin Solkar had said he was currently out on bail. The special public prosecutor had, meanwhile, pointed out that Mulla’s passport had expired. Moreover, the provisions of POTA also prevented granting the prayers sought by the accused.
Mulla was convicted in a case pertaining an explosion at the Mumbai Central railway station on December 6, 2002, followed by two more blasts over the next three months — at Mungibai Market in Vile Parle East on January 27, 2003, and inside the compartment of a Karjat-bound local train when it approached the Mulund railway station on March 13, 2003.