Malbari sent to five years in jail
In case they fail to pay the fine, they will serve an extra year in jail, the court ruled.
Judge B K Naik pronounced the judgement in the jam-packed court hall here. The court on Monday had convicted the two men for possessing illegal weapons, under Section 25 (1) (a) of the Arms Act. After hearing the final arguments and counter-arguments on Wednesday, the court reserved the pronouncement of the quantum of punishment for Thursday.
While prosecutor Manjunath Bhat Panne sought a maximum punishment of 10 years under the Arms Act, defence lawyer Purushotham Poojary prayed for lenience as possession of firearms had not been prohibited under the law.
Malbari, who has already spent 53 months in jail, will serve the remaining seven-month term in a central prison in Karnataka.
Malbari was arrested by the District Crime Branch Bureau and police officers of the Intelligence wing at a house in Chattanchal near Kasargod on March 30, 2009. His associate Hasim was apprehended in Talapady. The police had then seized a 9mm US-made pistol and five bullets from Malbari, and a 9mm pistol and five bullets from Hasim.
In the charge sheet, the police had accused the duo of conspiring to kill BJP leader Varun Gandhi and Pramod Muthalik of Sri Rama Sene. Though the accusations were not proved in the court, the accused were sent to jail for possessing illegal arms.
Speaking to reporters, Panne said he would decide his next move of filing a revision petition seeking further punishment after receiving the certified copy of the judgement. “There was provision for sentencing the accused to 10 years in prison,” he said.
Malbari told reporters that the court had convicted him without proper evidence. “I have been falsely victimised and they have punished me because I am a Muslim. I will appeal to the High Court against the sessions court judgement,” he said.He also alleged police conspiracy and the role of Hindu organisations such as the Bajrang Dal and the RSS behind his conviction.
‘I am not Malbari’
Abdul Rasheed Malbari on Thursday told Deccan Herald that his name was not ‘Malbari’ and that he neither hailed from Malabar in Kerala.
“My name is Abdul Rasheed Sheikh Hussein and I am from Hejamadi in Udupi district,” he said. He claimed that the Mumbai police who arrested him had named him Malbari because he spoke the Beary language the police might have mistaken for Malayalam.
It is very common in Mumbai as well as in West Asia to call people from South India ‘Malabaris’. Incidentally, many people who work in West Asia either belong to the coastal region of Karnataka or Kerala.