An NIA court on Thursday reserved its order on the bail application of photo-journalist Kamran Yusuf for March 7.
Yusuf is in custody since September 5 last year after the NIA alleged that he was in “regular touch with anti-national elements” and that his work as a photojournalist was a front to “cover up his actual subversive activities”. Yusuf and 11 others were chargesheeted by the NIA for alleged role in terror funding and stone pelting incidents.
During arguments opposing the bail on Thursday, Special Public Prosecutor Sidharth Luthra, appearing for the NIA, read out statements of some witnesses according to whom Yusuf was shouting “anti-national slogans” and seen “stone pelting”.
He read this with the NIA’s reply on Yusuf’s bail — which the agency had submitted in December — stating that the passwords to his device were not given, and that his BSNL SIM card — the “most important evidence” which could have led to recovery of chats he had on social media with other stone-pelters — was not found in his possession. “If he was such a bonafide man, why would he not give the SIM card?” the NIA had said.
However, Yusuf had told the judge that the SIM card was given to J&K Police. “When I was called by J&K Police on September 4, I handed them the SIM card,” he had informed Additional Sessions Judge Tarun Sherawat during an earlier hearing.
Defence counsel Warisha Farasat re-produced before the court a part of the chargesheet that claimed that Yusuf had spoken to several people, including journalists, who were in touch with the other accused. “There is no link of Yusuf directly speaking to any of the accused,” the defence argued. “If the people who Yusuf spoke to are connected to the accused, why hasn’t the NIA arrested anyone?”
ASJ Sherawat asked the NIA, “Why hasn’t there been any action against them?” To this, Luthra said that some of them were made “witnesses”.
The SPP reiterated that Yusuf was arrested by the NIA on September 5, not a day earlier as claimed by the defence. But Farasat informed the court, “There are contradictions in NIA’s chargesheet.” She reproduced two documents: the arrest memo prepared by the NIA and a fax document of South Kashmir Range Police Headquarters Anantnag.
As per the Anantnag Headquarters fax document, they gave Yusuf’s custody to the NIA at 1.35 am on September 5.
However, as per the arrest memo, the time of arrest is 5 pm on September 5.