Supreme Court dismisses Delhi government plea against grant of bail to SIM card salesman

Supreme Court. File  

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed an appeal filed by the Delhi government against a High Court decision to grant bail to a SIM card salesman, who was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in connection with the northeast Delhi riots.

A three-judge Bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan refused to set aside or intervene with the bail granted to Faizan Khan by the Delhi High Court on October 23. The High Court had noted that the prosecution did not produce any evidence to link Mr. Khan directly with the conspiracy to riot in the background of the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA)protests.

Dismissing the government's appeal, the Bench said the remarks made by the High Court would not prejudice the trial.

“We, however, make it clear that observations made by the High Court in the impugned judgment are only for the purpose of granting the bail and shall not be treated any expression of opinion during trial”, the Supreme Court order said.

No terror allegation against him: HC

The High Court had pointed out that there was no allegation against Mr. Khan that he engaged in any form of terror funding or such other ancillary activity.

“For invoking the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against the present petitioner [Khan], it is the duty of the investigating agency to demonstrate that the petitioner had “actual knowledge” that the said SIM card would be used for organising the protests,” the High Court had said.

“There is no proof on record such as CCTV footage, video or chats of petitioner with any of the group except the allegation that he provided SIM on fake ID in December 2019 and taken a small amount of ₹200/- for the same,” it had observed.

Senior advocate Salman Khushid, appearing on behalf Mr. Khan in the High Court, had accused the investigators of wrongly invoking the UAPA. “The invocation of the UAPA, vis-à-vis the petitioner, is a gross abuse by the investigating agency to deprive the petitioner of his personal liberty,” he had argued.

The prosecution had claimed that the SIM card supplied by Mr Khan was used to manage the various sites and mobilise people that led to the riots.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2021 6:11:15 PM |

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