Mumbai: A special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court, established inside Arthur Road Jail of Mumbai, on Friday granted bail to one of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) suspects in a six year old case of threatening Email (five minutes before Gujarat 2008 blasts) investigated by Mumbai crime branch.
Farooque Tarkash (33 years), an accountant from Pune, was granted bail by special MCOCA judge A L Pansare on the grounds of parity, as other 4 accused have previously been granted bail by the Bombay High Court – two of them recently.
Tarkash has been granted bail against a surety of Rs. 50,000 and has been specifically directed not to induce threat or influence any witness in the case. He has further been ordered not to leave Pune without prior permission of court and to surrender his passport, if he already has one. Another condition is Tarkash must report to court every Tuesday.
He was represented by Jamiat Ulema Hind (Maharashtra) appointed senior advocate Sharif Shaikh who successfully argued on his behalf countering the claims of Public Prosecutor Raja Thakare . Mr. Thakare had argued that parity is not a ground to release Tarkash but the court should consider evidences brought against Tarkash who had participated in Jihadi training in Bhatkal town of Karnataka.
Adv. Sharif Shaikh convinced court saying the high court meticulously studied evidences brought out against other accused before granting them bail and that special court has a binding effect of High court order upon it. He also argued that those who have already been granted bail are accused of more severe allegations than Tarkash and hence the bail application should be granted to Tarkash too.
Adv. Sharif Shaikh later told TwoCircles.net, “We were confident to get the favorable order as other accused have already been granted bail by high court. We are boosted with the order, there are two more bail applications (to be filed by accused persons) and I would argue for them too. Hopefully (they will) get similar orders”.
“The case is standstill as the court has caught itself in a technical (subject) where it has already discharged other Indian Mujahideen accused persons in JM Road, Pune 2012 blasts accused from MCOCA charges but it is unwillingly not able to discharge accused from this case as it has prior framed charges under sections of Cr PC. We are in a process of finding a judgment to rely for revoking MCOCA charges from this case as well”, Shaikh said on questioning of trial status.
Adv. Shahid Ansari, Assistant lawyer of Adv. Shaikh further told TwoCircles.net, “The court has imposed many restrictions while granting bail (to Tarkash). Such conditions are rare, even high court has not imposed such conditions on four accused it has granted bail in the case.”
With this bail order, Tarkash became 7th accused to have secured bail from the country’s first Indian Mujahideen case allegedly cracked and registered by Mumbai crime branch in September 2008 when it arrested 21 highly educated Muslim youths including Yahoo Engineer Mansoor Peerbhoy and other four engineers from Pune.
First to secure bail in the case were Muhammad Ali and Javed Ali father-son duo (resident of Mangalore) in 2010 followed by 31 years old Pune Infosys Engineer Muhammad Atik Iqbal (resident of Yavatmal, M.S.) , Dastagiri Mujawar (31 yrs) (Resident of Pune) - both in 2012, Yasir Syed (25yrs) and Majid Shaikh (32 yrs)- (both resident of Pune) in 2014.
The arrests had taken place in Maharashtra during the same time of controversial Batla House encounter in Delhi by special cell where two Muslim youths from Azamgarh (UP) and police Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma were killed in alleged cross fire on 18th September 2008.
Other advocates related with the case believe that the already weak case is becoming feebler with the number of bails accused are securing in the case.
“The case was weak from the very start of the investigation due to certain technical loop holes but due to media hype and invocation of MCOCA charges the case was portrayed at a higher degree (because of which) court took some time in granting bails to accused persons”, says Adv. T. Qureshi who keeps watch on the case proceedings and represent some accused.
“The case is completely based on alleged confessions of some accused persons extracted under duress. All accused had retracted their alleged confessions before court. Prosecution does not have any other evidence to prove charges. When MCOC charges will be dropped, for which we are trying hard, then the complete case collapses“, said another assistant lawyer Ashrat Ansari.
Even after the grant of bail, Tarkash will not be released from prison as he is also accused in Gokul Chat blast in Hyderabad (2007). Jamiat Ulema has expressed willingness to pursue Tarkash’s bail in Hyderbad case too.
“Tarkash’s family has approached Jamiat for extending help in Hyderabad case too for securing bail and (for that) purpose Jamiat has asked Adv. Khalid to prepare a bail application draft and file it before session court there”, said Adv. Ansari.(Report 2 CN)