BOMBAY HIGH COURT UPHOLDS ACQUITTAL OF HAJ HOUSE IMAM IN TERROR CASE

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Maulana Ghulam Ilahi Yahya Baksh, former Imam of Bombay Haj House, with son and daughter after acquittal in a terror case in Jan 2010.

Caravan News

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday upheld the acquittal of Maulana Ghulam Ilahi Yahya Baksh, former Imam (cleric) of the mosque at the Bombay Haj House, in an alleged terror case of 2006. The High Court rejected the appeal of the Maharashtra government against the 2010 acquittal order of the lower court.

Maulana Yahya Bakhsh, who was Imam at the mosque of Central Haj Committee of India office in Mumbai, was arrested by the Maharasthra Anti-Terror Squad or ATS on 14th June 2006 for allegedly sheltering three alleged terrorists. After four years and three months in jail, the Imam was acquitted by a lower court on 17th January 2010. The Maharashtra government and ATS challenged the order in the High Court. Rejecting their plea, the two-judge bench of Justices B R Gavai and Sarang Kotwal observed that the lower court had passed judgment in favor of the cleric on the basis of proofs and witnesses and the High Court does not find anything in the appeal to change the lower court order.

Gulzar Azmi, head of the Legal Aid Committee of Jamiat Ulama Maharashtra (Arshad Madani group), informed that the High Court rejected the government’s appeal after hearing the arguments of Jamiat’s counsel Mateen Shaikh. The lawyer told the court that Maulana Yahya Bakhsh was arrested on 14th June 2006 and he was released only after getting acquitted by the lower court after hearing the witnesses from the prosecution.

The High Court also rejected the government’s appeal for increase in the sentence for three other accused in the case – Arshad Hussain, Khursheed Ahmed and Mohammad Ramzan. These three Kashmiri youths were also arrested by the ATS in June 2006 and charged that they possessed arms and had come to Mumbai to execute terror activities. The lower court had held them guilty of illegally possessing arms and awarded them with seven years in jail.

After the High Court order on Tuesday, Imam Ghulam Yahya Bakhsh said: “The High Court has given me justice, but who will return my days I passed in the jail? Will the state government take action against the police officer who falsely implicated me in the case?

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