Kashmiri Imam Gets Bail in Terror-Funding Case

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The special NIA court in Delhi said helping a person build a house cannot be considered incriminating.

Ghazala Ahmad | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – A Delhi court on Wednesday granted bail to a Kashmiri imam, Javaid Ahmad Lone, in a terror funding case.

“Helping a person build a house or providing financial help for his daughter’s medical treatment cannot be considered incriminating,” the court told the National Investigation Agency (NIA) while granting bail to Lone.

Lone, an imam at a mosque in Ganderbal in Jammu and Kashmir, was arrested on February 15, 2022. 

The NIA chargesheet claimed that Lone belonged to the outlawed group Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), which was charged with engaging in “separatist and secessionist activities in J&K” by obtaining money through charitable donations from abroad and “using it for violent and secessionist activities.”

The NIA claimed that it has recovered a list of JeI members from Lone. It also stated that Lone received INR15 lakhs from them. The chargesheet also said Lone promised to financially help a man in constructing a house and also paid INR500 to a man to support his daughter’s medical expenses.

While granting bail, Special Judge (NIA) Shailender Malik noted that possession of the list of JeI members “is not sufficient” to prove Lone’s association with the organisation.

He also declared: “Helping a person in building a house or providing financial help to a poor man for treatment of his ailing daughter cannot be considered incriminating”.

Lone’s Counsel Advocate Abu Bakr Sabbaq said: “There was nothing found against him (Lone) to substantiate the claims made by NIA and hence he was granted bail.”

He argued in the court that the accusations made by the NIA that it has found a gun and ammunition at Lone’s house has been refuted by the two prosecution witnesses themselves as they maintained that no such recovery was made by the NIA.

The central agency clarified in court that this was a clerical mistake.

Interestingly, the court stated that “the statement of these witnesses do not in any sense support the purported recovery (of weapons)” from Lone’s house. Even if there was a clerical mistake, the court ruled that the witnesses would at least discuss the discovery of the weapon.

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