The Bombay high court granted bail to Mohammed Irfan Shaikh, 50, a tailor, who was accused of harbouring and helping a terrorist in 2021 in Mumbai.
Shaikh was arrested by NIA alleging that he harboured terrorist Zakir Hussain Shaikh and one other person. A case was then registered with the Kalachowkie police station under the anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
However, a bench headed by Justice Revati Mohite-Dere granted him bail on furnishing personal bond of ₹50,000 observing that material against him are prima facie not true.
The bench noted that the embargo under the UAPA for bail does not come in the way if the court comes to a conclusion that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the allegations are prima facie true, as it has in this case.
The HC was hearing an appeal filed by Shaikh challenging the order of the special UAPA court rejecting his bail in 2022.
Shaikh contended that he did not know Zakir Hussain was involved in terror activity
Shaikh contended that he did not know that the main accused Zakir Hussain was involved in any terror activity. He claimed to have met Zakir, a rickshaw driver, during the pandemic lock-down for his commute to work. Hence, he let Zakir stay on September 17, 2021 night with him and gave his bank account details to accept Rs 50,000 from USA since Zakir said he lost his wallet.
Zakir was arrested in September 2021. He purportedly told police that a big work was given to him at the instance of Chota Shakil, through his brother, Sagir residing in Pakistan. He had received an amount from his brother Sagir through Western Union Money transfer in the name of his friend Irfan. The money was sent by one Rohan Habib.
The investigating agency arrested Shaikh after learning that he had given shelter to Zakir.
205 calls made between Shaikh and Zakir in the span of a year
The bench noted that 205 calls made between Shaikh and Zakir in the span of a year cannot be said to be incriminating per se. It also said that from the documents and statements, the prosecution has not been able to point out a single statement to show that Shaikh had the requisite knowledge that Zakir was indulging in terrorist activities.
On a court query, prosecution said that Habin, who had supposedly transferred the money, was not made an accused.