SRINAGAR: The Delhi High Court on Friday rejected an appeal against a trial court’s decision to deny bail to Suhail Ahmad Thokar, one of the accused in a case registered under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in connection with the ‘JK terrorism case’.
The Division bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Anish Dayal, in their judgment, stated, “After due consideration of the provisions of the UAPA Act, along with an assessment of the material in the subject charge sheet, the collective evidence, and a surface analysis of its probative value, there exist reasonable grounds to believe that the accusations against the appellant are true. Consequently, the conditions in Section 43D (5) of the UAPA Act stand satisfied. The present appeal is accordingly dismissed.”
According to the NIA, an FIR was registered subsequent to the receipt of intelligence regarding the incubation of a larger conspiracy in the Kashmir valley.
The prosecution alleges that the conspiracy involved both the physical realm and the digital domain and was orchestrated by proscribed militant groups, including Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-E-Mohammed (JeM), Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM), Al-Badr, as well as other groups detailed in the charge sheet.
During the investigation, it was uncovered that these militant groups, in collaboration with their facilitators and leaders based in Pakistan, along with their Over-Ground Workers within India, were involved in influencing and radicalising susceptible local youth, the court noted.
It is also alleged that the objective was to recruit and train these young individuals to participate in acts of militancy, including handling weapons, ammunition, and explosive materials, with the intention of spreading fear within the Kashmir Valley and various regions of India after the revocation of Article 370 from the Constitution of India, noted the Court.
The charge sheet alleges that the larger conspiracy was masterminded by high-ranking leaders of various militant organisations, including Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM), Al-Badr, and other entities based in Pakistan.
It is further alleged that the conspiracy was conceived after the revocation of Article 370, with the objective of reigniting acts of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir, as well as in other regions of India. To accomplish this malevolent objective, a central organisation known as the “United Jihad Council” (UJC) was established as part of a larger conspiracy, in collaboration with other proscribed terrorist groups, noted the court.
In the matter, Sohail Ahmed Thokar, through his lawyer, contended that there was no substantive evidence on record to corroborate a nexus between the Appellant and the “larger conspiracy,” which is stated to be the genesis for the registration of the present FIR.
The lawyer also argued that nothing incriminating was recovered from the possession of the appellant, and a mere connection or endorsement of a terrorist organization does not meet the essential prerequisites for invoking the charges delineated under Sections 38 and 39 of the UAPA Act.