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Terrorist Activities In The State Orchestrated By ISI; Providing It Vital Info/Pictures Is Waging War Against The Country: Jammu and Kashmir High Court

Sparsh Upadhyay
8 Dec 2020 5:29 AM GMT
Terrorist Activities In The State Orchestrated By ISI; Providing It Vital Info/Pictures Is Waging War Against The Country: Jammu and Kashmir High Court
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Its an open secret that J&K is facing onslaught of terrorist activities orchestrated by ISI of Pakistan: J&K High Court

While observing that Union Territory of J&K is facing "onslaught of terrorist activities from the neighboring country, which is orchestrated by ISI of Pakistan", the Jammu & Kashmir High Court on Wednesday (02nd December) denied bail to a person (named Pankaj Sharma) who allegedly hobnobbed with ISI of Pakistan and passed on photographs of vital installations...

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While observing that Union Territory of J&K is facing "onslaught of terrorist activities from the neighboring country, which is orchestrated by ISI of Pakistan", the Jammu & Kashmir High Court on Wednesday (02nd December) denied bail to a person (named Pankaj Sharma) who allegedly hobnobbed with ISI of Pakistan and passed on photographs of vital installations and troops movement to them.

The Bench of Justice Sanjay Dhar further observed,

"Providing of vital information and photographs to the intelligence agency of an enemy country, to my mind, is nothing but waging war against the country."

The case before the Court

As per the prosecution's case, the petitioner (Pankaj Sharma) sent photographs of vital installations of Indian Territory to ISI of Pakistan through Facebook Messenger and in lieu thereof, he received money, thereby posing danger to the security, integrity and sovereignty of the Country.

On the basis of this information, an FIR came to be registered and Sharma was taken into custody.

The petitioner is stated to have sent photographs of Samba City, Bari Brahmana, Ujh Bridge, Vijaypur Market, Bahi Nallah, Bari Brahmana Railway Station, Ghagwal Bridge, Pargwal Nallah and besides this prior to the Balakote strike, petitioner is stated to have sent photographs of trains boarded with army personnel at Railway Station, Bari Brahmana.

The pictures were allegedly sent to two Facebook IDs (who claimed that they are stationed at Sudan) which were later on found to be fake.

The money is stated to have been received by the petitioner and his relatives/friends from Dubai, Maharashtra etc.

Thus, according to the respondents, offences under Section 121 IPC and Section 3 of the Enemy Agents Ordinance are made out against the petitioner.

Thereafter, Sharma moved an application for grant of bail before the learned trial Court but the same was rejected vide order dated 14.08.2020. Subsequently, Sharma came before the High Court seeking bail.

Arguments put forth

The Senior Counsel for the Petitioner, submitted before the Court that mere taking of photographs of some installations and sending it to some persons stationed at Sudan would not amount to either hobnobbing with enemy agents or waging war against the government of India.

It was also contended that there is no material on record to show that the petitioner had any link with Pakistani ISI or that he had any knowledge of the links between ISI and the persons to whom he was sending the photographs.

On the other hand, the respondents argued that the petitioner knowingly indulged in activities which are prejudicial to the security of the State, inasmuch as he has not only passed on the photographs of vital installations to the enemy of the nation but he has also passed on photographs of troops movement to the enemy.

It was also submitted that in order to book a person for the offence of waging war against the Country, it is not necessary that such person should actually acquire or use arms and ammunition against the armed forces of the country.

Court's observations

The Court observed that initially, the petitioner did not know that he was acting at the behest of ISI of Pakistan but later on he did came to know about it and inspite of this, he continued to send messages and photographs to his masters and kept on deleting the same to avoid detection.

The Court also noted that there is material on record to suggest that petitioner, his mother and his friend- Ashwani Kumar were receiving money in their bank accounts in exchange of these photographs.

The Court further noted that co-accused in the case, are yet to be arrested and interrogated. The Investigating Agency has submitted that after their arrest and interrogation, supplementary charge-sheet will be produced before the Court.

Therefore, the Court observed,

"If petitioner is granted bail, at this stage, it is definitely going to hamper further investigation of the case and in fact it may derail further investigation of the case."

The Court also said that the petitioner has connection with agents living in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and as such, "the possibility of his fleeing from the course of justice cannot be ruled out."

This petition was, accordingly, dismissed.

Case title - Pankaj Sharma v. Union Territory of J&K and another [Bail App No.152/2020 CrlM Nos.878, 1412 & 1413 of 2020]

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