A Delhi-based lawyer, arrested by Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) in a 16-year-old abduction case, walked out of jail on Thursday after a local court granted him bail.
Shailendra Singh Jaat, 45, was picked up by ATS officials in the wee hours of May 15 from his residence in Rohini area of Delhi, and later handed over to the Detection of Crime Branch, Rajkot.
The crime branch had secured his custody till May 23. Jaat was later sent in judicial custody by the court. Additional sessions judge Harsh Trivedi granted Jaat’s plea for regular bail on June 8 after his judicial custody ended. The court asked him to furnish a bail bond of Rs 25,000 and also surrender his passport.
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Jaat was arrested for his alleged role in the abduction of jeweller Bhaskar Parekh and his friend Paresh Shah on November 12, 2000, in Rajkot. According to investigators, the abduction was carried out by Dubai-based mafia with help from a local gang led by Asif Reza Khan and Aftab Ahmed Ansari, alleged founding member of Indian Mujahideen.
Shah was rescued from Bharuch on November 26, 2002, by police after an operation, but Parekh was taken to Delhi and was released on December 1, 2000, only after Rs 1.5 crore was paid as ransom, which was to be later used to fund terror activities. Police said Jaat’s car was used in abduction.
While opposing Jaat’s bail plea, public prosecutor submitted that the applicant was involved in abduction conspiracy hatched by an international gang and that he was on the run for almost 16 years. “But our defence was that police never made serious efforts to reach to Jaat. Police went to Delhi only once to look for my client in all these years. Nor did he know that he was wanted in the case until the ATS picked him. Therefore, he was not an absconder. He is a law-abiding citizen and an advocate and the court granted him bail exercising its discretionary power,” Jaat’s lawyer Piyush Shah told The Indian Express.
The court let off Jaat while appreciating that he is unlikely to flee the justice. “In view of the matter, considering the role attributed to the present applicant and without touching to the merits and demerits of the allegations, I am inclined to release the applicant-accused on bail by exercising discretionary power. As the applicant is active legal practitioner in Delhi, having his family there, he is not likely to flee away from justice,” the judge stated in his order.