NEW DELHI — The Delhi High Court has sought the National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) response in Manzer Imam’s – a purported Indian Mujahideen operative – bail plea.
He has been in jail for more than nine years in a case booked under anti-terror law, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
With delay in trial, the plea also seeks bail on merits of the case.
The NIA filed a case against Imam in August 2013 stating that he and others conspired to commit terrorist activities and made plans to target important locations in the nation.
The charges are yet to be framed in the case.
A division bench of Justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Neena Bansal Krishna issued notice on his plea.
The bench listed the matter for next hearing in March.
In October last year, a single judge requested that his bail application be heard and decided by the special court within 75 days.
On January 10, Justice Siddharth Mridul of the Delhi High Court recused from hearing Imam’s plea.
“In all the bans imposed on the organisations at that time, I was the Senior Counsel for the Government, so I can’t hear the matter,” Justice Mridul had said.
“The Special Court will hear and dispose of the bail application of the applicant within 75 days from the date of this order,” the court had ordered.
Justice Mridul acknowledged his difficulty hearing the appeal when Imam’s counsel said that the accused had been in detention for nine years and that the charges against him had been re-filed.
He had further stated that there are 369 witnesses, and many of them are yet to be examined.
“In some of the bans imposed on SIMI (Students’ Islamic Movement of India) a for a period of two years I was a senior counsel for the government. Would I hear this matter? There is a difficulty,” Justice Mridul had said.
However on November 28, 2022, Additional Sessions Judge Shailender Malik ruled that the trial’s delay in this case could not be used as a defence to grant bail.
The court had denied Imam’s request for bail but stated that there was sufficient proof to conclude that his accusation was true.
Because the trial was taking so long, Imam had asked for bail.
The FIR in which Imam is an accused invokes Section 17, 18, 18B and 20 of UAPA and Section 121A and 123 of the Indian Penal Code. — IANS