A man, along with four others, was arrested by the NIA two years ago on charges of being Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operatives go bail this month. All five pleaded guilty before a special court in Mumbai.
According to the Indian Express, After seven years of incarceration, Mohammad Irfan Gaus was the first among them to be granted bail this month. After his release from Taloja prison, he has claimed that he was innocent but pleaded guilty to avoid a prolonged trial and worsening of his family’s situation. Gaus (32) told The Indian Express, “The NIA told us that a few accused in a similar case have pleaded guilty before a special court in Bengaluru and sentenced to five years of imprisonment. NIA suggested that we consider pleading guilty. We decided to plead guilty and requested NIA to tell the court to grant us five years of imprisonment as we had already spent that time in jail,” he said. “We were left with no choice but to plead guilty, not because we were guilty, but we had no idea when our case was going to be concluded. We had families to look after. The situation was getting bad.”
While granting bail to Gaus, the Bombay High Court observed that the Prima facie, at this stage, we are of the opinion that perusal of material made available to us does not show that there are reasonable grounds for believing that accusations against the appellant/accused no.4 (Gaus) are true. A chargesheet against the five, including Gaus, was filed by Maharashtra ATS for offences punishable under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, IPC, and the Arms Act. Later the case was transferred to the NIA in October 2013, reported Indian Express. Gaus said he was working at his inverter battery shop before he was arrested in 2012. While he was in jail, his father and brother took care of his wife and his son.