Press Trust of India

Terror-funding case: HC dismisses bail plea of GM Bhat

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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday dismissed the bail plea of Ghulam Mohammed Bhat, an alleged close aide of Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, in a 2011 terror-funding case.
A bench of justices Siddharth Mridul and Brijesh Sethi said there was no reason to interfere with the trial court’s November 2018 order denying bail to Bhat.
“In our considered view, the relevant provision of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in relation to the grant of bail to an accused person is enunciated as a non-obstante clause, which clearly and unequivocally postulates that if the court is of the opinion that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the accusations against such a person are prima facie true, he shall not to be released on bail,” the high court said in its 23-page verdict.
The bench said Bhat’s appeal challenging the order of the trial court, which had denied him bail for the third time, was “devoid of merits” and dismissed it.
The 2011 terror-funding case pertains to money allegedly sent through “hawala” channels by militants based in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to India to promote terror activities in Jammu and Kashmir.
The bench, in its order, said, “In view of the foregoing, we find no warrant to interfere with the impugned order dated November 26, 2018 rendered by the District and Sessions Judge, Special Judge (NIA), Patiala House Courts, New Delhi. The appeal being devoid of merits, is consequently dismissed.”
Bhat, along with others, was arrested in 2011 when a joint team of Delhi Police and Jammu and Kashmir Police laid a trap in Srinagar to apprehend the accused persons with the illegal money.
It was alleged that at the time of arrest, Rs 20 lakh in cash, two mobile phones and a slip containing certain phone numbers were recovered from Bhat.
Three other accused in the case — Mohammed Sidiq Ganai, Ghulam Jeelani Liloo and Farooq Ahmad Dagga — had pleaded guilty and were sentenced to seven years in prison in June 2018. The case against Bhat is still going on.
Besides these four, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had also chargesheeted Mohd Maqbool Pandit and Aijaz Ahmed Bhat alleging that they had illegally raised funds in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and sent it to Ganai in India through “hawala” channels to promote terror activities in Jammu and Kashmir.
Seeking bail, Bhat’s counsel claimed that the testimony of a witness suffered from material contradictions and was bereft of any material to show that there were reasonable grounds for believing that the accusations against his client were “prima facie true”.
The NIA opposed the bail plea saying the material against Bhat in the case showed his complicity in the commission of the stated offences and that a detailed examination of the merits and demerits of the offences was not required to be done at this stage. (PTI)

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