SC stays bail of suspected LeT member

New Delhi, Dec 3 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the bail of an alleged member of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), apparently perceived as a threat to national security by the security agencies.

The Bombay High Court had granted bail to Mohammed Irfan Gaus in July this year in a case under investigation by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

A bench headed by Justice R. Banumathi said: “Considering the fact that the trial of the case is almost at the verge of completion and the facts and circumstances of the case, there shall be stay of the impugned order until further orders from this court.”

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta representing the NIA submitted that considering the seriousness of the allegations against him, if he is allowed to be at large then there is a likelihood of the recurrence of commission of offence which might affect the security of the nation.

The NIA had moved the top court challenging the High Court order. Initially, the case was registered by the Maharashtra anti-terror squad, and later, it was transferred to the NIA in 2013.

The NIA also informed the apex court that the trial is almost on the verge of completion and if Gaus is allowed to be at large then it would be difficult to secure his presence at the time of judgment, which would eventually become an obstacle in completion of the case.

The top court observed that the NIA is at liberty to take the accused into custody.

The investigation agency alleged that Gaus, arrested in August 2012, was a member of the banned terrorist organization LeT and conducted recces at Nanded and Hyderabad to commit acts of terrorism. The apex court issued notice to Gaus and scheduled the matter for further hearing after three weeks.

Mehta told the court that the trial is in the last phase, as 72 witnesses have been examined and two official witnesses, which include one from the forensic department, were left to be examined.

Gaus along with others is facing charges for offences punishable under Sections 18, 20 and 38 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, under Section 201 IPC and under Sections 3, 25 and 27 of the Indian Arms Act.

Gaus moved the High Court claiming that he has been behind the bars in the absence of any crucial evidence. The High Court granted him bail after noticing his seven year custody as an undertrial prisoner after the arrest.

–IANS

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