On Thursday the Delhi High Court upheld the order of the trial court directing extension in period of investigation and custody of the accused for a period of 45 days with directions to the investigating agency to expedite the investigation.
A single Bench of Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar heard the plea by two accused NajmusSakib and Al Mamun Kamal against order passed by Special Judge, NIA, Patiala House Court extending the period of investigation and their detention by 45 days under the UAPA Act and remanding them to judicial custody.
It was observed by the court that the trial court gave the extension after considering the progress of the investigation because only a 45 day extension was granted as opposed to the 90 days sought by the investigating agency. Justifiable grounds had been submitted by the investigating agency for the extension.
The petitioners (22 year old student and 36 year old wage labourer) and 10 other accused were arrested for allegedly panning anti-national and terrorist activities. The suspected offence is of belonging to a group of ‘jihadi terrorists’ planning terrorist activities at several locations in India taking inspiration from the terrorist organization ‘Al Qaeda’.
As per the investigating agency, through the investigation the involvement of these people has emerged and that the petitioners had conspired with the other accused to recruit members in this group. Through the searches documents and other incriminating material has also emerged.
It was noted by the High Court that the application for extension clearly stated the reasons for not completing the investigation in 90 days and also disclosed the progress made in the investigation. The court also did not find any substance in the petitioner counsel’s contention that the application being filed 7 days before the expiry of the 90 day time period shows the intention of denying the petitioners statutory bail.
The court stated that the UAPA Act provides for a further extension of 90 days, i.e. total of 180 days only in cases where the prescribed time limit for investigation is coming to an end and the investigation is still not complete. Therefore if it is filed much prior to the prescribed time for completing the investigation it is premature.