SC allows NIA to re-arrest alleged member of banned LeT

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The Supreme Court has allowed the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to re-arrest a man who was granted bail after seven years of incarceration in a Mumbai's jail and two years after he sought to plead guilty in a case where he was alleged to be a member of the banned terrorist organisation of Lashkar-e-Taiba.

A bench of Justices R Banumathi and A S Bopanna stayed the Bombay HC's order of July 9 granting bail to Mohammad Irfan Gaus after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta contended that the trial was almost on the verge of completion and if the accused was allowed to remain at large, it would be difficult to secure his presence at the time of judgment and it may be an obstacle for completion of the case.

After staying the HC's order, the court allowed NIA to re-arrest Gaus and take him to custody. It also issued a notice to him on the NIA's petition and put the matter for consideration after three weeks.

Mehta said that about 72 witnesses have been examined in the case and only two official witnesses from the forensic science department and other official witnesses were to examined. If Gaus was allowed to be at large, he might commit an offence again which might affect the security of the nation, he said.

Gaus remained in jail since August 31, 2012, slapped with various charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and other offences under the IPC. He was granted bail in July.

According to the prosecution, Gaus and another accused Muzzammil made 214 calls to each other between October 10, 2011, and August 9, 2012. Gaus allegedly also travelled with Muzzammil from Mumbai to Nanded by bus. It claimed that one of the men had received money from Saudi Arabia, sent by another accused, the accused were found with a revolver and live cartridges and that they planned to instigate young Muslims to take to violence.

In November 2017, though the five accused sought to plead guilty, the trial court rejected their request.

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