Updated: September 30, 2021 12:08:34 am
The Bombay High Court on Wednesday granted bail to a retired Delhi Police official, who was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for allegedly providing a weapon to an accused linked to a group said to be attempting to revive Sikh militancy for a separate Khalistan.
Sunderlal Parashar, former Assistant Commissioner of Delhi Police and a resident of Delhi, had approached the HC after the special court in Mumbai on July 1, 2019 rejected his bail plea. He was arrested on April 24, 2019 in Delhi following which a charge sheet was filed against him on May 23, 2019.
A division bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice N J Jamadar quashed and set aside the special court’s decision.
Imposing strict conditions, the HC said that Parashar will be released on bail on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 50,000 and sureties in the like amount. He will also have to report to NIA’s Mumbai branch once every month for a period of six months from the date of his release.
“The appellant shall not try to establish communication with the co-accused or any other person involved directly or indirectly in similar activities, through any mode of communication,” the HC said.
The NIA had invoked sections under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Arms Act against Parashar, stating that he had provided a pistol and live rounds, which were delivered to another accused in the case — Moinuddin Siddiqui — and was involved in the conspiracy to “threaten security, integrity and sovereignty of India and made attempts to revive Sikh Militancy.”
In his bail plea filed through advocate Mubin Solkar, Parashar said there was no evidence presented by the NIA that could show his involvement in the alleged conspiracy. Parashar submitted before the court that Siddiqui was his informant.
The appellant said that he was in contact with Siddiqui, to elicit information relating to terrorist organisations such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), adding he had not supplied any firearm to Siddiqui.
Solkar said that his client was a retired “decorated” police officer and the NIA could not prove his intent towards the alleged offence, and that he was only looking to provide information on the conspiracy to an intelligence agency. The lawyers sought the appellant’s release on bail in view of completion of the probe.
The bench found merit in Solkar’s submission that the special court could not have rejected the bail plea by invoking bar of granting such relief under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), as Parashar was not charged for offences under the said law.
The Court noted that Parashar has suffered incarceration for a period of two years and five months and further incarceration of an undertrial prisoner appears “wholly unjustifiable.”
The HC held: “Indisputably, the appellant had been a member of Delhi Police Force. It cannot be said that the appellant has no roots in society. It does not appear that the release of the appellant would either hamper further investigation or put hindrance in the trial.”
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