The Delhi High Court last week rejected the bail plea of Hizbul Mujahideen Chief Syed Salahuddin's son Syed Shahid Yousuf, arrested in a seven-year-old terror funding case.
Shahid was arrested by the National Investigating Agency (NIA) in October last year, and was accused of collecting funds from Aijaz Bhat, a Srinagar resident now based in Saudi Arabia and a Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist, on the direction of his father Salahuddin, who is based in Pakistan. The money, it said, was meant to fund Hizbul Mujahideen's activities in Jammu and Kashmir.
He had now challenged two orders passed by the Special NIA Court in February and March this year. He had essentially asserted that he was entitled to statutory bail under Section 167(2) Cr.P.C., which contemplates extension of the period of detention up to 180 days where it is not possible for the NIA to complete the investigation within a period of 90 days.
At the outset, the Court noted that by allowing an application seeking permission for extension of the period of investigation, for whatever period it thinks fit, the Court essentially allows the prayer for extension of the custody of the detenue by that period. An order to this effect can be passed by the Special Court only upon a report of the Public Prosecutor (PP).
While Shahid had contended that the extension of judicial custody in his case was granted without seeking a fresh report from the PP, the Court opined that the filing of separate applications for extension of judicial custody itself was unnecessary, since the Special Court had already extended the period for completion of the investigation.
As regards the reports of the PP, the Court opined that the Appellant cannot ask to see the reports of the PP at the stage of extension of time for completion of investigation or extension of the period of detention under Section 167 of the Cr.P.C.
The Bench comprising Justice S. Muralidhar and Justice I.S. Mehta, therefore, ruled, "Consequently, the Court does not find any illegality in the impugned orders dated 5th February 2018 and 7th March 2018 of the Special Court. This Court concurs with the trial Court that once the period for completion of investigation stood extended up to 21st April 2018, the occasion for the Appellant to file an application for statutory bail under Section 167 Cr P C did not arise unless there was a failure by the NIA to file a charge sheet before 21st April 2018."
It however, clarified that its judgment would not affect independent consideration of Shahid's application for regular bail by the Special Court.