One gets bail in arms haul case

 An accused in the sensational seven-year-old Aurangabad arms haul case, Riyaz Ahmed was granted bail on Monday by the Special MCOCA Court.

Charged with helping another accused in parking a vehicle laden with arms and ammunition, Riyaz Ahmed Mohammed Ramzan, was given a bail against a surety of Rs 50,000, by judge G T Qadri at Arthur Road Jail. Riyaz's counsel Sharif Shaikh said that the detailed order will be delivered very soon. Today (Monday) it was delivered orally, he added.

In July this year, Riyaz moved his bail application contending that the trial has been pending since 2006 and all the 22 accused in the case were languishing in jail without trial. The application was moved by the lawyers of the NGO Jamiat Ulama-e-Maharashtra, that provides free legal aid to Muslim youth arrested on charges of terrorism across India.

Advocate Shaikh, in his argument, emphasized that there was no prima facie evidence against the accused Riyaz. Moreover, he had not given any confessional statement, and none of the co-accused had mentioned his name in their confessional statements.

"The charges were framed against all the accused last year. So far, out of 247, only four witnesses have been examined by the court," Riyaz said in his bail plea.

Shaikh further argued that the only allegation against Riyaz hints that he had apparently moved computer boxes that allegedly contained arms and ammunition from one place to another, and helped park car at a warehouse in Malegaon of Nashik district as well as ferried another car.

The counsel for the petitioner pointed out that the accused cannot be considered as a part of conspiracy ' primarily because he had no knowledge of the contents of the computer boxes.'
Special Public Prosecutor Raja Thakre, however, maintained that as Riyaz was deeply involved in the conspiracy, granting him bail would influence the witnesses and also send a wrong signal to the masses.

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