NIA Court Grants Bail To Journalist Asif Sultan

(MENAFN- Kashmir Observer) Srinagar- A Special NIA court here has granted bail to journalist Asif Sultan Saida in a five-year-old case, observing that his continuous arrest shall not serve any purpose.

Earlier this year, the High Court of J&K and Ladakh quashed the detention order under Public Safety Act (PSA) against Asif but the journalist, in his mid 30s, was shortly arrested in the case-FIR 19/2019 under section 13 UAPA Act and RPC's 147, 148, 149, 336, 427, 332, 307, 435, 436.


“There can be no dispute at all that so far as the investigation into allegations of commission of offence under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 is concerned, that there is compelling state interest in tackling such serious crimes. However, mere use of this statutory provision would not ipso-facto (by that very fact) warrant rejection of applications of bail ignoring the other binding requirements,” the court said observing that the embargo contained under chapter VI & VI of ULA (P) Act, is not attracted in the present case.

“In the humble opinion of this court, the occurrence took place more than 5 years ago and sufficient time of approximately 2 1⁄2 months (72 Days) has been given to the investigating agency for the custodial interrogation of the accused/applicant(Asif),” the court said, adding,“The accused/ applicant was already under PSA till Feb 2024.”

Further, the court said, it has not been brought to its notice that the conduct of accused person, Asif, in judicial custody is such that it does not warrant the release on bail.

Read Also Kashmiri Journalist Asif Sultan Released After 5 Years HC Quashes PSA Detention Against Journalist Asif Sultan

“The further detention of the accused person/applicant in the custody shall not serve any purpose,” the court said and admitted Asif to bail provided he furnishes bail bond to the tune of Rs.1,00,000 with one surety in the like amount. However the court imposed at least 11 conditions, among others directing Asif not to use any secret or encrypted messaging apps or any proxy network (viz VPNS) to remain“anonymous and circumvent provisions of India Telegraph Act and Indian Wireless Act.”

He has also been asked to provide mobile numbers issued in his name along with telecom network to the Investigating Officer/SHO of the concerned police station.

Besides, he has been asked to disclose the details of the cell phone device to be used by him (IMEI number and make like MI, Samsung, Oppo etc) to the investigating officer/ SHO. He has also been barred from using any mobile number or device other than the ones disclosed to the Investigating Officer /SHO of the concerned police station.

In case Asif wants to buy another mobile handset or a new SIM Card in the event of damage, loss, theft or to upgrade, he has been directed to seek prior permission from the court as well as furnish the information to the IO / SHO of the concerned police station.

He has also been asked to appear before the Investigation Officer of the case as and when required, not“misuse” liberty or get in touch with any of the witnesses or try to influence the course investigation. He has also been directed not to leave the territorial jurisdiction of the court without its prior permission or change his residence during the period of bail without informing the court.

“That the accused/applicant shall not commit any offence in the future,” the court added.

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