Mumbai: Two arrested members of Popular Front of India (PFI) have approached the Bombay High Court challenging the orders of the special court granting extension of time to the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) to file chargesheet and rejecting their default bail.
Momin Hasan alias Moin Mistri and Asif Khan, who were arrested by the ATS on September 22, 2022, filed the plea in HC through advocates Hassnain Kazi and Zeeshan Khan contending that the lower court had not given a detailed reason for rejecting their plea.
Repeated Extensions asked by ATS
The ATS, in December 2022, sought first extension to file the chargesheet after 90 days of the accused being sent to judicial custody. The agency contended it needed time to retrieve data from gadgets seized from the accused and to obtain prosecution sanction from the designated authority under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The special judge granted an extension of 30 days.
Subsequently, in January this year, the investigators applied for another extension, which was granted for 15 days solely to obtain the prosecution sanction.
The accused challenged this extension and filed an application seeking default bail, which is granted when the prosecuting agency fails to file a chargesheet in the case in a stipulated period. However, the special court rejected the extension plea saying that the application was premature and was devoid of merits. The accused challenged this before the HC. Subsequently, the special court also rejected their default bail plea.
Advocate Kazi argued that sanction is not part of the investigation. He said that extension can only be sought if the investigation was not complete and not on administrative grounds or sanctions.
The HC, on July 31, asked the advocates why they had only challenged the order rejecting extension of time to file chargesheet. The court asked them to even challenge the rejection of default bail plea and amend the petition.
Kazi said they have amended their plea challenging the special court’s order rejecting their default bailplea too. The matter is likely to be heard next week.
Arrests in Sept 2022
Mazhar Khan, Shaikh Qureishi, Mohd. Iqbal Khan, Momin Hasan and Asif Khan
Involvement in radicalising youth and spreading hatred
Waging war, criminal conspiracy and wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot; under the Indian Penal Code and the UAPA