Other States

PFI leader Rauf Shareef sent in 5-day U.P. STF custody

A Mathura court on Thursday granted five-day police custody of Popular Front of India (PFI) leader Rauf Shareef to the Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force (STF) in a case of alleged funding and stirring unrest in the wake of the gang-rape and subsequent death of a Dalit girl in Hathras.

The STF officials took Shareef from a temporary jail in Mathura to Noida for interrogation.

The STF sought a 10-day remand but Additional District and Sessions judge Anil Kumar Pandey granted only five-day custody. 

Shareef, who will be sent back to prison on February 23, was brought from Ernakulum jail, where he was lodged after being arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in December last in a money laundering case.

Kappan trip to Hathras

According to the STF, Shareef needed to be interrogated on funding received from foreign countries and funding the trip of Siddique Kappan, Delhi-based Kerala journalist, and three other alleged PFI activists to Hathras.

Defense counsel Madhuvan Dutt Chaturvedi said he opposed the remand plea. “We drew the attention of the court that warrant B was not in accordance with Form 36 and the Superintendent of Ernakulum jail committed “grave illegality” by handing him over to STF officers, as the jail authorities were bound to produce him in court and not authorised to hand him over to STF. But the court first sent him in judicial custody and has now granted police custody.”

Mr. Chaturvedi told The Hindu that their objection to the jurisdiction of the court and the capacity of the STF to investigate still remained. Besides, he said, the STF could not show “sufficient evidence” to charge Shareef under the stringent UAPA (Unlawful Activities [Prevention] Act). A terrorist activity (covered under UAPA) was different from inciting riots, for which the IPC had sections. “I also urged the court to provide a translator to Shareef as he only understands Malayalam. I also requested that the interrogation process should be video-recorded to ensure no third-degree torture is inflicted upon the accused, but the court rejected it,” he stated. 

However, the court allowed the defence counsel to watch the process from a distance.

The defense counsel maintained that it was not practically possible to follow the STF. Mr. Chaturvedi said the defence approached the Allahabad High Court on Friday through a different lawyer. 

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Printable version | Apr 22, 2021 5:54:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/up-stf-gets-five-day-custody-of-pfi-leader-rauf-shareef/article33878235.ece

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