New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today refused to entertain the bail plea of former chairman of the Popular Front of India (PFI) E Abubacker, arrested by the NIA during a massive crackdown on the recently banned organisation, seeking release on medical grounds.
Justice Anoop Kumar Mendiratta allowed the 70-year-old petitioner to withdraw his bail plea, observing his court does not have the requisite “power” to take a decision on it.
Special public prosecutor Akshai Malik, who represented the National Investigation Agency, contended the bail plea was not maintainable as the law mandates the petitioner to move the high court in appeal under the NIA Act after an order has been passed by a trial court, which is then heard by a division bench of the high court.
“The NIA (law) is a special Act. We don’t have the powers (to pass orders on the bail plea),” the judge told the petitioner who withdrew his application.
The petitioner, who was arrested on September 22 by the anti-terror probe agency and is currently in judicial custody, had sought bail on the ground that he was suffering from various serious ailments including cancer, Parkinson’s disease and diabetes. A large number of alleged PFI activists were detained or arrested in several states during the massive raids preceding the nation-wide ban imposed on September 28.
The plea before the high court said the petitioner moved an application for interim release on October 1 due to his deteriorating health but the trial court refused to grant him relief and instead extended his police remand by six days.
It said the petitioner’s fundamental right to personal liberty and health, guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, was being violated on account of his continued incarceration. His medical condition was “critical”, it added.
The petitioner, it claimed, has no role or involvement in the alleged crime and “no purpose exists for prolonging the continuous detention in custody of the petitioner, especially during his deteriorating health condition”.
“The present crime involves numerous FIRs and complaints across India, wherein over 200 arrests have been made till date. Hence, there exists no definitive period as to the completion of investigation. Thus, under critical medical conditions, the petitioner cannot be compelled to languish in custody, which would ultimately prove to be fatal for his life and wellbeing,” the plea said. In near-simultaneous raids across the country as part of a multi-agency operation spearheaded by the NIA, a large number of PFI activists were detained or arrested in 11 states for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country.
The arrests were made in states and union territories including Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Puducherry, Delhi and Rajastan.
The government banned the PFI and several of its associate organisations on September 28 for five years under the stringent anti-terror law UAPA, accusing them of having “links” with global terror groups like the ISIS.