A 42-year-old man, arrested by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on suspicion of being a Bangladeshi national and helping others forge documents to prove Indian citizenship, was granted bail by a sessions court earlier this week.
The court observed that Mohammed Rafik, arrested last November, had documents including an Aadhaar card and a school leaving certificate from India. “It is for the prosecution to prove that the applicant has taken unlawful entry in India and that he is a foreign citizen, has no right to reside in India,” the sessions court said.
Relying on a Karnataka High Court judgment, the court added that until the allegations made against Rafik are established in a trial, he is entitled to be released on bail.
Rafik’s lawyer, Shriganesh Sawalkar, had told the court that he was falsely implicated and that documentary evidence showed that he was an Indian citizen. Sawalkar added that Rafik is the only earning member of his family and his arrest had led them to starvation.
“It is pertinent to mention here that the investigating officer has not disputed the genuineness of the documents. There is no dispute that the trial will take considerably long time to commence,” the court said.
The ATS had booked Rafik and at least 10 others for cheating, forgery and under the Passport Act and Foreigners Act. The agency said that they had received a tip-off about Bangladeshi nationals living illegally in Mumbai and had thus conducted searches.
It added that the group had made false documents of Indian citizenship and a search was still on for such 73 other people. The ATS has claimed that Rafiq helped these 73 people create false documents to prove Indian citizenship.