Soon after he was granted bail by the NIA court in a case of terror funding, PDP youth wing leader Waheed-ur-Rehman Para was detained again for questioning in a separate terror-related case.
The Counter Intelligence wing of Jammu and Kashmir Police detained Para immediately after his release from District Jail, Ambphalla, on Saturday evening.
“We had received a message from Counter Intelligence Kashmir (CIK) to collect Para from jail as he was wanted by them for questioning in connection with FIR No. 31 registered with them in Srinagar,” a senior jail official said.
The official expressed ignorance about the details of the FIR. While the police’s counter intelligence wing remained silent, sources said the FIR pertains to a terror funding case.
“It is an open FIR and Waheed’s name is not mentioned. Several of (PDP chief) Mehbooba Mufti’s relatives and aides have already been questioned in this case,” a source said.
“This case was filed after Waheed was arrested by the NIA,” the source added.
Alok Bambroo, an associate of Para’s counsel senior advocate P N Raina, said the docket containing the court order granting bail to Para was given to jail officials around 4 pm on Saturday. However, they delayed his release for another two hours saying the documents were being prepared, until an inspector and some other policemen from CIK reached the jail in a vehicle and picked up Para, Bambroo said.
Bambroo said the policemen told Para they were taking him to the joint interrogation centre (JIC) for questioning. “On Sunday, I visited the JIC here, but officials told me that they were still questioning him,” Bambroo said. He said the police did not disclose the grounds of Para’s detention after the bail order.
Nearly one and a half months after he was arrested by the NIA for alleged terror links, Para was on Saturday granted bail against a personal bond and surety of Rs 1 lakh each. Special Judge Sunit Gupta said that “offences, particularly falling under Unlawful Activities Act (UAPA), are not prima facie made out against the applicant/accused”.
The judge highlighted various loopholes in the NIA case, pointing out that neither the original nor the supplementary chargesheet has a “reference of the present applicant”, and he is referred to as “suspected accused in the said case”.
The judge questioned the basis of Para’s arrest on the “so-called disclosure statement” of militant Syed Naveed Mushtaq Shah alias Naveed Baba, noting that its “legal value” was “seriously hit by Section 25 of the Evidence Act”, which says that such confessional statement can only be recorded under Section 164 CrPC by a Magistrate. Not even one protected witness had named Para, the judge said.
Para, who is considered to have been instrumental in the revival of the PDP in south Kashmir, was arrested by the NIA on November 25 following a disclosure statement by Hizbul Mujahideen’s Naveed Baba, who had been arrested along with then DySP Davinder Singh on January 11, 2020.
Para’s arrest had come three days after he had filed his nomination from Pulwama for the District Development Council elections. He won the election while in custody.
Late on Saturday evening, PDP chief Mufti posted on Twitter: “Despite NIA Court granting bail to @parawahid after thorough court proceedings, he has now been detained by CIK in Jammu. Under what law & for what crime has he been arrested? This is brazen contempt of court. Request [Lt Gov Manoj Sinha] @manojsinha ji to intervene so that justice is served.’’
Sources in the NIA said the agency would challenge Para’s bail in the High Court.
(With Bashaarat Masood in Srinagar)
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