SC seeks Karnataka's response on Madani's bail plea

SC seeks Karnataka's response on Madani's bail plea

A bench of justices Markandeya Katju and Gyan Sudha Misra asked the state to respond within a week and posted the matter for April 29. Two persons were killed and 20 injured when serial blasts rocked Bangalore city in nine locations in 2008.

During the brief hearing, Justice Katju wondered how a person whose leg is amputated and lives with the help of wheel chair could pose a threat if granted bail. However, Justice Misra pointed out that the accused was facing the serious charge of being involved in the blasts which claimed lives.

Senior counsel Shanti Bhushan, appearing for Madani, claimed that the accused was innocent and had been falsely implicated. The bench then sought the state government's response on the bail plea.

On February 11, the Karnataka High Court had rejected Madani's plea on the ground that if bail was granted to him it would put the security of the state and the nation in jeopardy.

But the High Court directed jail authorities to take steps to ensure that the health condition of Madani, who is disabled and suffering from different ailments, does not deteriorate and he is given necessary medical help.

The court said available material and statements of witnesses indicated that Madani was in constant touch with the other accused before and after the blasts and also harboured some of them by giving them shelter in his orphanage in Kerala.

On the contention of senior defence counsel B V Acharya that there was "no direct evidence" of Madani''s involvement in the criminal conspiracy, the High Court had said, "There is seldom ever that direct evidence is there in such cases. Conspiracy by very nature is hatched in complete secrecy other wise the whole purpose will be frustrated."

Madani, arrested in Kerala on August 17 last year, is lodged in Central Jail, Bangalore. He was one of the main accused in the 1998 Coimbatore serial blasts that killed 58 people but was acquitted.

Inference can be drawn from whatever evidence has been collected and it (evidence) is "sufficient proof of the conspiracy", the High Court had observed. The court while rejecting the bail plea took into consideration the fact that the blasts took place in Bangalore and were followed by similar blasts in Jaipur and Ahmedabad.

"Actions speak louder than thoughts. It is not possible for anyone to penetrate into the mind of others to see what thoughts are going on," the High Court had observed. The High Court noted that the material collected by the investigative agency including phone records before and after the blasts, pointed out a prima facie case against Madani.

On the question of personal liberty, the court cited a Supreme court judgement which held that "liberty of an individual is very important. At the same time interest of the state also cannot be lost sight of". Observing that in cases involving the security of the state and the nation bail is generally refused, the court held that this was one such case where "interest of the nation can never be given up".

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