A Supreme Court Bench hearing Abdul Nasir Maudany's bail plea was on Wednesday divided, with Justice Markandey Katju favouring the grant of bail, and his counterpart, Justice Gyan Sudha Misra, disagreeing with his view.
The Bench, after elaborate arguments from senior counsel Shanti Bhushan, appearing for Mr. Maudany, an accused in the Bangalore bomb blast case, and senior counsel T.R. Andhyarujina, appearing for Karnataka, requested Chief Justice of India S.H. Kapadia to post the matter before another Bench, preferably before the court closes for the summer vacation on May 13.
Mr. Bhushan pleaded for granting Mr. Maudany bail on medical grounds as he was suffering from several ailments. He asserted that there was no evidence against him and that he had been falsely implicated on the basis of some statements given by the co-accused before the police, and which was not admissible as evidence. He alleged that the State government due to political and communal reasons had implicated Mr. Maudany as he was a powerful political and social leader of the Muslim community.
Mr. Andhyarujina, however, said there were enough materials to show the involvement of Mr. Maudany not only in the conspiracy but also in the blasts that occurred in Bangalore, Ahmedabad and other parts of the country. He said the other accused had clearly stated the role played by Mr. Maudany, which was reflected by the telephone calls he made to the other accused before and after the bomb blasts. His release on bail would pose a serious threat to national security as he was part of the ‘jihadi' element, having connections with banned outfits like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Students Islamic Movement of India, he said.
Justice Katju said there was no material to implicate Mr. Maudany and that he could be granted bail. He cited the instance of the Supreme Court releasing Dr. Binayak Sen on bail, though the trial court and the High Court took a different view. Justice Katju said that since the police were not scientifically trained to deal with serious crimes, they had a tendency to falsely implicate innocent persons.
Stating that no comparison could be drawn with Dr. Sen's case, Mr. Andhyarujina said: “Please do no have that analogy. The case of Binayak Sen is different. We are all proud of that decision. This case is different. The man [Maudany] has been accused of killing over 100 people. You cannot have a comparison like that.”
Justice Gyan Sudha did not accept the contention of Mr. Bhushan and said: “If your argument that police can't arrest persons on the basis of statements made by a co-accused to the police, then no arrests could be made till trial was over and the person was convicted. We better change the Cr. P.C that no person be arrested and put in jail until he or she is convicted. You have to satisfy the conscience of this court that he is innocent despite sufficient material to prove his involvement in the blast. You have not shown even one material to show that he is innocent.”
Since there was difference of opinion between the two Judges, the matter has been referred to the CJI for posting the case before another Bench.