21 Dec 2021 5:30 AM GMT
The Bombay High Court on Tuesday dismissed the National Investigation Agency's (NIA) appeal and refused to set aside the order granting bail to bookie Naresh Gaur, an accused in the Ambani terror scare case. "No knowledge of either planting of the explosives, parking of the vehicle or commission of murder of Mansukh Hiran; directly or indirectly can be attributed to Gaur," the...
The Bombay High Court on Tuesday dismissed the National Investigation Agency's (NIA) appeal and refused to set aside the order granting bail to bookie Naresh Gaur, an accused in the Ambani terror scare case.
"No knowledge of either planting of the explosives, parking of the vehicle or commission of murder of Mansukh Hiran; directly or indirectly can be attributed to Gaur," the bench observed. The court further observed that prima facie Gaur had no connection with prime accused Sachin Waze.
A division bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and the Sarang Kotwal passed the order on the agency's appeal u/s 21(1) of the NIA Act against a Special NIA court order passed on November 20, 2021.
Gaur was arrested on March 13, 2021 and booked under sections 120B(conspiracy) and 403( dishonest misappropriation of property). Unlike Waze and six others, Gaur is not booked under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Gaur, a cricket bookie is accused of supplying dummy sim cards used by his co-accused - dismissed cop Sachin Waze and former encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma in the murder of business man Mansukh Hiran. Hiran's body was found in the Thane creek 10 days after the explosives and a threat letter were discovered in an abandoned vehicle near the Ambani residence, on February 25, 2021.
In its order the bench noted that none of the essential requirements to prove conspiracy, in line with the apex court's guidelines, is there against Gaur.
These are - meeting of minds, agreement to commit an illegal act, knowledge and intent – is absent in Gaur's case.
"In the present case, none of these aspects can be gathered from the material collected during investigation against Gaur… The only strong evidence against him is that he had procured those SIM cards illegally, for which he will suffer the consequences of his act, but, this act cannot be stretched to bring it within the umbrella of the conspiracy of planting the explosives or commission of murder of Mansukh Hiran."
The bench further observed that according to NIA, Waze planned Hiran's murder after the latter refused to co-operate. But Gaur is alleged to have handed over the sim cards much before. Therefore, it would be far-fetched to attribute any knowledge to him.
The NIA represented by Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh and Special Public Prosecutor Sandesh Patil argued that the special court wrongly held that prima facie Gaur did not have knowledge of the conspiracy.
"Gaur was fully aware that the SIM cards he was providing were to be used for extorting money and to commit criminal offences," the NIA said.
Court merely considered the factual circumstances against Gaur but ignored charges of criminal conspiracy against him. Moreover, Gaur was a history sheeter, they argued.
The special court further failed to consider that the alleged theft of the Scorpio vehicle, act of planting of explosive in the Scorpio along with threat letter to the Ambani family, the subsequent threat by Jaish-ul-Hind, and further the murder of Mansukh Hiran are connected offences, and part and parcel of the larger conspiracy, in the commission of crime of this case, the NIA claimed.
Senior Advocate Shirish Gupte along with advocate Aniket Nikam for Gaur pointed out that it was the prosecution's case that Waze met Gaur's boss and asked for dummy sim cards. On his boss's instructions Gaur arranged for the sim cards and handed them over to accused Vinayak Shinde, who in turn gave them to Waze and Sharma.
They had submitted that Waze never contacted Gaur, neither did they ever meet nor were there any calls exchanged between them.
They further argued that Gaur was not informed about the purpose for procuring the sim cards. Therefore, allegations of conspiracy were not applicable against him as the law mandated that every conspirator must be aware of the end object of conspiracy.
Lastly, they pointed out that Gaur's boss at whose behest he handed over the sim cards was cited as a witness in the case.
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