13 Jun 2023 1:17 PM GMT
A Delhi Court has extended judicial custody of human rights activist Khurram Parvez and Kashmiri journalist Irfan Mehraj in a 2020 UAPA case after the NIA sought more time to complete the investigation. Mehraj and Parvez are accused in the alleged NGO Terror funding case registered by NIA in October 2020.On June 09, Principal District & Sessions Judge Sanjay Garg of Patiala House...
A Delhi Court has extended judicial custody of human rights activist Khurram Parvez and Kashmiri journalist Irfan Mehraj in a 2020 UAPA case after the NIA sought more time to complete the investigation. Mehraj and Parvez are accused in the alleged NGO Terror funding case registered by NIA in October 2020.
On June 09, Principal District & Sessions Judge Sanjay Garg of Patiala House Court allowed NIA’s application seeking extension of detention of both Mehraj and Parvez in judicial custody and period of investigation. Though the NIA had prayed for extension beyond 90 days to 180 days, the court only granted it 45 more days.
“After giving my thoughtful consideration to the submissions made by the Ld. Counsel for both the parties, the PP Report and various judicial pronouncements, this Court is satisfied that extension of period of detention of the accused persons in judicial custody is required. The application is allowed and period of judicial remand of both the aforesaid accused persons namely Khurram Parvez and Irfan Mehraj is extended for 45 days i.e. up to 135 days,” the court said.
Mehraj, who was arrested on March 20 from Srinagar, was brought to Delhi after a local court granted his transit remand. He was then produced before Patiala House Courts on March 22. The same day, NIA also arrested Parvez, who was already in custody in another case, and they both were remanded to NIA custody for 10 days.
On their production on April 01, they were remanded to judicial custody up to April 28 which was later extended from time to time up to June 17. The period of 90 days of detention in judicial custody of Mehraj and Parvez and the period of investigation is going to be completed on June 18 and 20, respectively.
NIA told court that during their examination, statements of Mehraj and Parvez were recorded which allegedly revealed their association with the persons affiliated to terrorist outfits. The probe agency also alleged that both Parvez and Mehraj were "in contact of" more than 350 Pakistan-based tele selectors and several entities based in other countries through phone numbers, social applications and emails, investigation. The investigation in this regard is ongoing and time is needed for its completion, said the central agency.
“The facts surfaced so far during the investigation are required to be verified. The voluminous data of seized digital devices connected to accused persons and other persons connected to JKCCS and voluminous documents need to be scrutinized properly, several persons are yet to be examined, the investigation has spread in several states and also having international ramifications,” the NIA said.
Both Mehraj and Parvez opposed NIA’s application seeking extension of probe and period of their detention in judicial custody.
Mehraj had submitted that there was no ground in the application justifying the extension of period of detention up to 180 days. He also said that the delay in probe clearly demonstrates that NIA has undertaken an exercise of fishing and roving enquiry against him with the sole motive to keep him in custody without any formal charges.
On the other hand, Parvez submitted that there was absolutely no evidence against him and that he was being illegally detained. He also said that the request of NIA to extend the detention period from 90 days to 180 days was not based on any fresh cause as required under the law.
At the time of his arrest, NIA said that Irfan Mehraj was a close associate of Khurram Parvez and was working with his organization, Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Societies (JKCCS). “Investigation revealed that the JKCCS was funding terror activities in the valley and had also been in propagation of secessionist agenda in the Valley under the garb of protection of human rights,” NIA alleged.
Mehraj was a researcher with the JKCCS till March 2022. Parvez was the coordinator of the rights group and has been accused by the NIA of providing "material support" to protestors in Kashmir during the 2016 agitation.
NIA has said that involvement of some valley-based NGOs, Trusts and Societies "in funding of terror related activities is being probed" in the 2020 case.
"Some NGOs, both registered as well as un-registered, have come to notice collecting funds domestically and abroad under the cover of doing charity and various welfare activities, including Public Health, Education etc. But some of these organisations have developed links with proscribed terrorist organizations, such as Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) etc," the NIA has claimed.
Advocate Kartik Venu appeared for Khuram Parvez. Advocate Rajat Kumar appeared for Irfan Mehraj. Sr. PP Kanchan represented NIA.