RSS worker's murder: Top court bins PFI prez plea

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea by the Bengaluru president of Islamist organisation, Popular Front of India (PFI) against initiation of trial for his alleged involvement in murder of an RSS activist, Rudresh, in Bengaluru on October 16, 2016.

A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Ajay Rastogi rejected an appeal filed by Asim Shariff, saying "we find no error in the November 22, 2018 judgement of the Karnataka High Court which upheld the framing of charges by the trial court in the case prosecuted by the National Investigation Agency."

Relying upon the charge sheet and other materials, the court said the appellant was the president of Bengaluru unit of the PFI and there were telephonic conversations between him and other four accused, also members of the same organisation, before and after the incident.

"This persuaded the trial court to arrive to a conclusion that there is a prima facie material of conspiracy among the accused persons giving rise to sufficient grounds of subjective satisfaction of prima facie case of alleged offences of conspiracy being hatched among the accused persons and truth and veracity of such conspiracy is to be examined during the course of trial," the bench said.

Shariff, through advocate Kamini Jaiswal, contended that the charge that he planned the conspiracy along with other PFI members to kill RSS members and executed the plan of striking terror among a section of people was concocted and without any substance as nothing incriminating has been recovered.

Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi, appearing for the NIA, submitted the deceased was brutally hacked to death and his throat was slit by a single blow, resulting in his immediate death when the RSS workers had organised a path sanchalan.

"Admittedly, there is no animosity between the appellant and deceased. The nature of the act committed showed that the consequences were intended to be beyond the physical act itself and was to create fear in the minds of the people at large and to create insecurity and foster disharmony," he said.

While upholding the high court's judgement, the apex court's bench said the trial court was not supposed to hold a mini trial by marshalling the evidence on record at the stage of framing of charges. 

The trial court had in January, last charged Sharif, Mohammed Muzeeb Ulla, Wasim Ahmed, I Pasha, and Mohammed Sadiq with the offences of murder and a terrorist act under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

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