Millennium Post (Kolkata)

Respond to Sidibappa's plea for bail on ground of delay: HC to NIA

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NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court Tuesday sought NIA's reply on a plea by Indian Mujahideen's suspected key operative Abdul Wahid Sidibappa, arrested in 2016 in a case of alleged conspiracy to carry out terror acts in the country, seeking bail on the ground of an inordinate delay in the trial.

A bench of Justices SiddharthM­ridul and AnupJairam­Bhambhani issued notice to the National Investigat­ion Agency (NIA) on the accused's petition and listed the matter for further hearing on May 6.

Advocate M S Khan, representi­ng Sidibappa, said the accused has been lodged in Tihar Jail for nearly five years and there has been no progress in the case which was registered eight years ago.

He said he is seeking bail as there has been no progress in the case and trial has not commenced as charges are yet to be framed. The petition, filed through advocates Qausar Khan, Prashant Prakash and Ankit Karna, also sought direction to the special courts constitute­d under the NIA Act and operating in Delhi to strictly adhere to the mandate for conducting day to day trial of scheduled offences pertaining to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Sidibappa, a resident of Bhatkal in Karnataka and a cousin of Indian Mujahideen (IM) co-founder YasinBhatk­al, was arrested from Indira Gandhi Internatio­nal Airport here on his deportatio­n from Dubai on May 20, 2016.

Enlarge the appellant (Sidibappa) on bail while invoking the powers vested in this court under Article 226 of the Constituti­on as the inordinate delay in trial is violative of Article 21 of the Constituti­on and the same amounts to denial of free and fair justice, the plea said. It said the accused has been suffering prolonged incarcerat­ion and there is no likelihood of the trial being completed anytime in near future as charges are yet to be framed and the total number of witnesses to be examined in the case are 363.

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