12 May 2023 9:24 AM GMT
The Gauhati High Court has said that providing a SIM card to an “illegal Bangladeshi national for carrying out anti-national and terrorist activities”, amounts to providing them with ‘logistics support’ to conduct such activities in India.Denying bail to an accused in a case registered by Assam Police under provisions of UAPA and provisions of Indian Penal Code like Section 121,...
The Gauhati High Court has said that providing a SIM card to an “illegal Bangladeshi national for carrying out anti-national and terrorist activities”, amounts to providing them with ‘logistics support’ to conduct such activities in India.
Denying bail to an accused in a case registered by Assam Police under provisions of UAPA and provisions of Indian Penal Code like Section 121, 121A, 120B and 124A, Justice Kalyan Rai Surana said the nature of act which is allegedly committed by accused would be covered by Section 10 of the Evidence Act, 1872 read with Illustration (b) appended to the Act.
“It cannot be accepted that the petitioner was not aware that the said person was not an Indian national or that he was not aware of his activities because a bona fide Indian national would not need somebody else's identity to obtain a SIM card,” said the court.
Section 10, Indian Evidence Act
Where there is reasonable ground to believe that two or more persons have conspired together to commit an offence or an actionable wrong, anything said, done or written by any one of such persons in reference to their common intention, after the time when such intention was first entertained by any one of them, is a relevant fact as against each of the persons believed to be so conspiring, as well for the purpose of proving the existence of the conspiracy as for the purpose of showing that any such person was a party to it.
The court said the offence for which the accused is charged, if proved, would entail imprisonment for a term between five years and life imprisonment. Referring to Satender Kumar Antil vs Central Bureau Of Investigation, the court said it has been held by the apex court that where the undertrial is charged with offence punishable with minimum imprisonment of ten years and a minimum fine of rupees one lakh, such an undertrial shall be released on bail if he has been in jail for not less than five years provided he furnishes bail in the sum of Rupees one lakh with two sureties of like amount
“However, for the offences punishable with death or imprisonment for life, bail is required to be granted on merit, and on case to case basis,” it added.
The counsel representing the accused earlier submitted that as per the charge-sheet, Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) is allegedly a jihadi organisation having base at Bangladesh, and has affiliation/ close-link with Al Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent. The main accused in the case is alleged to have entered India illegally to create sleeper cells in Assam, the court was told.
“However, the petitioner is a cultivator and is merely accused of procuring and providing mobile SIM to another co-accused, namely, Saiful Islam @ Harun Rashid @ Mohammad Suman, who is an Imam of Dhakalipara Masjid on good faith and without suspecting that he was involved in any jihadi or terrorist activity,” Senior Advocate H R A Choudhury submitted.
The bench noted that the trial court has charged six accused named under Section 121A IPC read with Section 18/20 of the UAPA and taken cognizance of the offences. “By the same order. As against four accused, no materials were found and they were released. Out of the six accused against whom cognizance was taken, two accused were released by the learned trial Court by order dated 20.10.2022,” according to the order.
Rejecting the bail plea of the petitioner, the court said it is unable to record its satisfaction that no prima facie materials are available against him of commission of offence alleged under Chapters IV and VI of the UAPA.
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Gau) 60