IN A rare case, Sessions Judge Amritsar B S Sandhu on Thursday granted bail to three accused booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act after police failed to produce challan against them within 90 days.
Accused Gurmit Singh and Vikram Singh were booked under sections 120-B/121/121-A IPC, 25/54/59 Arms Act and 13/17/18/18-B/20 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, on June 19 this year. The third accused in the case, Sukhjinder Singh, was nominated in the FIR at a later stage.
All accused have been asked to pay Rs 1 lakh bail bond for their release.
The court cited the ‘Bikramjit Singh vs State of Punjab’ case while giving bail to all three accused. Booked under UAPA and other acts, Bikramjit Singh is accused in the 2018 Nirankari Bhawan blast at Amritsar and had secured bail from the Supreme Court earlier this month.
“It is conceded that more than 90 days has elapsed since custody of the applicant/accused and police have not submitted the challan and application of the prosecution, and report of public prosecutor for the state for extension of time beyond 90 days has already been dismissed today by this court. Therefore, the bail application is allowed and accused are ordered to be released on bail on furnishing personal bonds of Rs 1,00,000 with one surety in the like amount, to the satisfaction of this court.accused shall not give any threat or inducement to any prosecution witness and accused shall not leave India without prior permission of the court,” read the order.
Common practice by police: Activist
Sarabjit Singh Verka, Punjab Human Rights Organisation activist, said, “It is a common modus operandi used by police to not file challan in UAPA case within 90 days to delay case proceedings and keep accused behind bars for long time. Often courts also avoid giving bail to accused booked under UAPA. There has been no such rule to not grant bail under UAPA but it has become a kind of convention to not grant bail to accused till either accused is discharged from UAPA or judgment in case is pronounced. We hope that Amritsar court order will also help other UAPA accused denied bail in jail due to delay in challan.”
Opposed bail and submitted challan today: DSP
Punjab Police had claimed to have busted another terror module with the arrest of two alleged Khalistani operatives “who were preparing to carry out a series of terror attacks and targeted killings at the behest of their Pakistani mentors and handlers”.
Punjab DGP Dinkar Gupta had said that Gurmeet Singh and Vikram Singh were arrested and based on information provided by them, police recovered German-made MP5 sub-machine gun, a 9-mm pistol with four magazines buried in a filed near Jandiala.
The DGP had said, “44-year-old Gurmeet Singh, a resident of Ganda Singh Colony, Sultanwind Road, Amritsar, revealed during questioning that the photographs and voice messages had been shared with them by their Pakistan-based handlers to locate and pick up sophisticated weapons kept at that location by their associates.”
Gupta had claimed that their Pakistan-based handlers had been instructing them to carry out terror attacks in Punjab, especially targeting persons, to further the cause of Khalistan.
“We had opposed the bail application of the Gurmeet Singh and also submitted challan against him today. But court granted bail,” said DSP Sukhwinderpal Singh.
Asked if police had investigated who had buried weapons at the location from where these were recovered, DSP said, “It is yet to be investigated. We will file supplementary challan after investigating this part.”
“It is very interesting that police has yet not investigated who buried the weapons there near Jandiala. If weapons had come from Pakistan then how did they travel more than 50 km to reach Jandiala? How did these weapons cross the iron fence on the India-Pak border? Police is not interested in finding the source of the weapons,” said Verka.
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