MUMBAI — In a 25-year-old Bhusawal terror case, a special TADA court on February 6 reserved its verdict, and scheduled the next hearing on Feb 26 for the verdict. The court decided after hearing the argument from both sides.
Defending the accused, advocate Sharif Shaikh called the investigation into the case ‘unconstitutional’. He argued that according to the TADA (Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act), higher officers are required to investigate such cases but the case has been investigated by an API rank officer which is unconstitutional. He told the judge S.C Khati that the confessing statement taken forcibly has not been recorded in the court’s official register. Therefore, the prosecution is not in the position of seeking punishment for the accused on the basis of confessing statements.
He also said that the prosecution delayed the recording of the witness’s statements in the case and an accused has been presented as the government’s witness. This is unconstitutional. The testimony of such a witness does not hold any constitutional validity. Moreover, he also pointed out that the organization of whose member, the accused is alleged to be, is not unlawful as per the law. Ignoring these glaring facts, the case has been filed against the accused.
While arguing on the case, Shaikh also presented the High Court and Supreme Court’s judgments to substantiate his argument and said that the prosecution miserably failed to provide any conclusive evidence against the accused. Hence, the accused must be acquitted of the charges levelled against them.
However, citing the accused’s confessing statements and government’s witness, the prosecution’s counsel demanded stringent punishment for the accused on the charges of anti-national activities. After taking note of the evidence and arguments presented from both sides, the judge reserved his judgment.
Gulzar Azmi, in-charge of Jamiat Ulam-e-Hind’s Legal Assistance Committee, said that after waiting for 25 years, the hearing in the case eventually got completed and he hopes that the accused will get justice. He further informed that total of 7 witnesses were presented in the Nasik’s TADA court of which two witnesses retracted their testimonies.
This is the case of May 28, 1994 when an investigating agency had arrested 11 highly educated youth from different cities of Maharashtra and they had been booked under Indian Penal Code’s sections 153 (A), 120 (A) and TADA’s section 3 (3), (4)(5), (4)(1). They were accused of taking training for carrying out terror activities in Kashmir so that they can avenge the demolition of Babri masjid.
The investigating agency also accused them to be the member of an organization named Bhusawal Al-Jehad and also alleged that they were instigating Muslims in Nasik and Bhusawal to carry out jihadi activities. They had planned to target government’s building along with other key institutions.
Azmi further said that in the beginning the trial was held in Bhuswal town itself but later it was transferred to Nasik. During that time, the accused got bail and some sections of TADA had been removed.
The names of the accused who were charge-sheeted and waiting for the verdict scheduled for the next hearing are — Jameel Ahmed Abdul Khan, Mohammed Younus, Mohammed Ishaque, Farooque Khan, Nazeer Khan, Yousuf Khan, Ghulab Khan, Ayub Khan, Ismail Khan, Wasimuddin, Shamshuddin, Shaikh Shafi, Shaikh Azeez, Ashfaqu Sayed Murtaza Mir, Mumtaz Syed Murtaza Mir, Mohammed Haroon, Mohammed Bafati and Moulana Abdul Qadeer Jaibi.