No force in NIA charges against three alleged ISIS operatives, says special court

The NIA had filed a case on January 30 against them on charges of criminal conspiracy, assaulting a public servant and under various sections of the Arms and UA(P) Acts.

Agencies
The judge had said he was “constrained” to direct the NIA to file a written response to six questions, such as “what is the scope/exact conspiracy and its object qua the present FIR?”
NEW DELHI: A special court has refused to take cognisance of offences under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act slapped by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) against three alleged ISIS operatives.

However, the NIA court has taken cognisance of charges allegedly committed by the accused under the Indian Penal Code and Arms Act.

The NIA had filed a case on January 30 against them on charges of criminal conspiracy, assaulting a public servant and under various sections of the Arms and UA(P) Acts. It recently filed a charge sheet against the men who were arrested by the Delhi Police in January, accusing them of plotting terror attacks in the national capital and Uttar Pradesh. On Friday, the court accepted the NIA’s request to discharge a fourth accused, Jaffar Ali, who is currently lodged in the Tihar jail. The court ordered that Ali be “released forthwith, if not required in any other case”.


ET was the first to report on July 29 that the special court had questioned the NIA for not “forthcoming with any clear answers” to its questions over the “admissibility” of evidence against the alleged ISIS operatives.

In two separate orders, dated July 14 and 22, the special NIA judge said: “It becomes very clear despite assistance being sought by the court to decipher what is in the charge sheet, the NIA is not forthcoming with any clear answers.” Taking up the probe agency’s charge sheet, the special NIA judge on July 14 said: “The court found itself at a difficulty to understand the scope, object and extent of the conspiracy allegedly involved in the present case” and that the charge sheet had mixed up the evidence and facts of other regular cases.

The judge had said he was “constrained” to direct the NIA to file a written response to six questions, such as “what is the scope/exact conspiracy and its object qua the present FIR?”
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Quoting the charge sheet, the court asked, “What is the admissible evidence in this case for the portion that the accused convinced his two co-accused that India is not safe for Muslims and as such Muslims should move out/do hijrath from India.”

Another question put to the NIA was, “What is the admissible evidence in this case that in August/September 2019, the accused had given 5 lakh to Mahboob Pasha for procuring illegal firearms and ammunition from Mumbai. The arms and ammunition were collected from Mumbai by an aide of Mahboob Pasha.”

The court also asked for “evidence that the prime accused had funded procurement of arms and ammunition and admissible evidence to show that there was in existence a conspiracy between the accused to set up a base in Delhi for carrying out terrorist attacks”. The probe agency sought time to file a “fresh” reply. On July 22, the court said the NIA’s response “did not specifically answer the questions and had merely reproduced and reworded what was written in the charge sheet”. On the same day, the NIA filed a fresh reply informing the court that “apart from the evidence mentioned in the charge sheet, there is no other evidence available on record in the instant case”. The agency requested that the court take cognisance as per the charge sheet.

The July 22 order read: “It is submitted by the public prosecutor that ‘I had discussed the matter with the senior officers and supervisory officers and they had stated that apart from what has been stated in the charge sheet, i.e., the disclosures of the accused in this case and other cases and pointing out memos, there is no other evidence under UA(P) Act.”
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The court in its order said it had questioned an NIA official “does it mean that he is not going to give any further clarification to the court, and he has answered — yes, sir”. It further asked the NIA official, “Has NIA in the charge sheet cited any evidence with regard to the offences under UA(P) Act except the disclosure statements and pointing out memos of the accused? He has answered — no sir.”

In these circumstances, it is apparent that no further assistance or clarification shall be forthcoming from the NIA, the court had held.
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