Delhi Court Grants Bail to Eight Accused in PFI Case, Pulls Up Police

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A court here has pulled up Delhi Police for not being able to justify how eight people, arrested in a case against the Popular Front Of India, carried out unlawful activities since they were in custody when the offences were claimed to have been committed.

Granting bail to the accused on November 28, Additional Sessions Judge Sanjay said, “Nothing could be shown to prove that the accused people were involved in unlawful activity from the date of declaring PFI as unlawful organisation till their arrest in the present case.” The court noted that the Popular Front Of India (PFI) was banned on September 28 and records show that at the time of the ban on PFI, the accused were already in custody.

Four were released from Tihar Jail on the night of October 2 and another four on October 4. They were arrested at 6.51 am on October 3 and 5.10 am on October 5, it said.

“The IO (investigating officer) has not been able to show sufficient incriminating material against the accused persons collected during the probe that as to when accused persons were in custody from September 27, 2022, and remained in Tihar Jail till October 4 or 3, 2022, then how the accused persons have carried out such activities which are aimed at advocating, abetting or inciting/assisting any unlawful activity of the unlawful organisation,” the court said.

After the PFI was banned in September, an FIR was registered at Shaheen Bagh Police station on September 29 based on apprehension of acts to be done by the members of the “unlawful association”.

Police said Mohd Shoaib, Abdul Rab, Habeeb Asghar Jamali and Mod Waris Khan were arrested in the case on October 3 after information was received that some people were raising ‘PFI Zindabad’ slogan.

The police said six PFI flags were seized from them.

Police also said that Abdullah, Sheikh Gulfam Hussain, Mohd Shoeb and Mohsin Wagar were arrested on October 5 some PFI flags along with pamphlets reading ‘PFI Zindabad’ were recovered from them.

The court noted that while Shoaib, Rab, Jamali and Waris were released from preventive detention on October 2, Abdullah, Hussain, Shoeb and Mohsin were released on October 4.

In its order, the court also said the material collected during the investigation was silent as to the role of accused persons in financial activities or in advocating the activities of the unlawful organisation after its ban, being its member.

It also noted that there was no allegation of involvement of accused persons in any terrorist activities, and the alleged offence was not punishable for more than seven years.

The defence counsel had sought bail on the ground that the accused were unlawfully picked up and detained by the police, and claimed that they were picked up from the jail itself and were not apprehended from the place as claimed.

According to the prosecution, the offence primarily against the accused persons was about being members of the organisation which was declared unlawful and they were allegedly found advocating, abetting and assisting unlawful activities of the banned organisation i.e. Rehab India Foundation, All India Imams Council (AIIC) and PFI by raising slogans.

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