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Delhi HC issues notice to NIA on Shabir Ahmed Shah's bail plea in terror funding case

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday issued notice to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on a plea by Kashmiri separatist leader, Shabir Ahmed Shah. He has sought bail in a terror funding case lodged by the NIA in 2017 against various separatist leaders of Jammu and Kashmir. 
The Division Bench, comprising justices Siddharth Mridul and Anish Dayal, issued a notice to the agency. 
The matter has been listed on September 12 for further hearing.
Meanwhile, the bench has been directed to place on record the relevant documents. 
The counsel for the petitioner submitted that it is a fresh bail application. He is in custody for past 6 years. The charge sheet has been filed against the petitioner. 
His earlier bail plea was dismissed by the trial court on July 7. A petition has been moved on behalf of Shah seeking bail. 
It has been submitted that the trial court judge erroneously declined to grant bail to the appellant herein by observing that in view of the bar under Section 43D(5) of UAPA and there being a prima facie case established at the point of framing charges, the appellant could not be granted bail. 
It is also submitted that the Hon'ble Court ignored the complete lack of material against the appellant, the prolonged period of custody undergone, and that no criminality with respect to the commission of the offence was assigned to the appellant. There is not a single criminal act that can be attributed to the appellant. 
It is also submitted that the Appellant is a reputed political leader in Kashmir, having founded the Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party in 1998 with the objectives of seeking the cooperation of people from within and outside the state, to inculcate brotherhood, friendship, and goodwill, cultivate religious tolerance, and foster regional and ethnic cooperation and interaction. 
The plea stated that the Appellant finds no mention in the main chargesheet and the first supplementary chargesheet, where all the allegations aforementioned have been stated and the Investigation Agency has shown the offences that have allegedly occurred as a result of the said conspiracy. 
The Investigation agency has in fact gone on to show the interlinkage between the accused persons' chargesheeted where again the appellant finds no mention, the plea said. 
The FIR that was registered owing to the alleged conspiracy and the investigation showing the execution of the conspiracy in the main chargesheet by the accused persons admittedly does not find mention of accused Shabir Shah or his connivance in such a conspiracy or any interlinkage in so far as the conspiracy or execution of the conspiracy concerned. 
It is also submitted that the Appellant has only been included in the 2nd supplementary chargesheet and was arrested in pursuance of the same on June 4, 2019. However, the Appellant has been in custody since July 26, 2017, in a PMLA case. 
The plea has stated that the Appellant has been incarcerated for over 4 years in the present FIR and intermittently for 35 years in different prisons in Kashmir and the country, apart from being under house arrest for a substantial period, without a single conviction or charge against him. 
On May 30, 2017, the NIA registered a case against 12 accused persons for alleged conspiracy to raise and collect funds for causing disruption by way of pelting stones, damaging public property, and thereby conspiring to wage war against the government of India. 
On June 4, 2019, the appellant was arrested. On October 4, 2019, a Second Supplementary chargesheet was filed, and the appellant was arrayed as an accused along with others. 
The allegations against the appellant included him playing a key role in building a separatist/militant movement in Jammu and Kashmir, inciting and instigating masses to shout slogans for secession of Jammu and Kashmir, paying tribute to the families of slain terrorists, receiving money through hawala transactions, and raising funds through LOC trade, which were used to fuel subversive and militant activities in Jammu and Kashmir. 
It is alleged that on February 26, 2019, his house was searched, and a lot of incriminating material, including documents and electronic items, was seized from his house. Since the formation of JKDFP, accused Shabir Ahmad has become the mouthpiece of Pak ISI, which had been handling him through his Pak/POK-based representative Mehmood Ahmed Sagar. 
It is further alleged that the scrutiny of CDs recovered from his house has revealed numerous instances wherein accused Shabir Shah had made inflammatory speeches at several locations such as Kishtwar, Bhadarwa, Anantnag, Kargil, Poonch, etc., instigating the masses to shout slogans for the secession of Jammu and Kashmir from the Union of India and creating such a surcharged atmosphere against the Government of India that people started pelting stones on the security forces. 
The investigation has also revealed that accused Shabir Shah was in touch with Pak/POK-based militant leadership, including Syed Salahuddin, Hafiz Mohd. Saeed, and Iftikar Haidar Rana, as the trial court noted in its order of July 7. 
It is further alleged that the accused, Shabir Shah, was duly supported by Pakistani agencies through Hurriyat representatives such as Shafi Shair and Mehmood Sagar based in Pakistan. (ANI)

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