Press Trust of india

SC rejects plea of Hizb chief’s son in funding case

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New Delhi, Jan 4: The Supreme Court on Friday rejected the plea of Syed Shahid Yousuf, son of Hizbul Mujahideen founder Syed Salauddin, challenging the Delhi High Court order dismissing his bail petition in a “terror funding case”.

The top court said that once the trial court had granted extension of time to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to complete the investigation in the case, the accused was not entitled to statutory bail.

A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta said the trial court and the Delhi High Court have applied their mind and there was no illegality in the decision.

Counsel for Yousuf argued that the trial court had erred in allowing the NIA application to extend the time up to 180 days to complete investigation and remanding the accused in judicial custody.

“Under the provisions of law, it cannot be done. The extension of time till 180 days can only be done in a piecemeal manner and not in one shot,” the counsel argued.

The bench said however that it all depends on the nature of case and its ramification.

The counsel failed to impress the bench which said that there are several judgements in this regard and it appears from the trial court judgement that the judge has applied his mind.

On May 31 last year, the Delhi High Court had dismissed his bail plea and had upheld the trial court order dismissing his statutory bail petition.

42-year-old Yousuf was posted as Agricultural Assistant in Budgam district of central Kashmir when he was arrested by the NIA on October 24, 2017. The bail plea of Yousuf, currently in judicial custody, was dismissed by the trial court here on March 07 last year.

Yousuf in his plea had said he was entitled to statutory bail and the special court had erred in denying him the relief in its order. He had also challenged the special court’s order of February 05 last year allowing the NIA’s plea for extension of time up to 180 days to complete investigation and remanding the accused to judicial custody.

The NIA had earlier alleged that the accused had links with proscribed militant organisations like Hizbul Mujahideen.

It had alleged that the case was registered on the basis of information about funds from Pakistan being sent to Jammu and Kashmir through hawala channels via Delhi “to spread terrorism”.

The NIA had in 2011 arrested several persons, including Ghulam Mohammad Bhat allegedly with Rs 21.2 lakh, and alleged that Yousuf was “one of the several Indian contacts of Bhat” who had been in touch with him for receiving money transfer codes.

It had alleged that Yousuf’s involvement was found in collecting funds from a militant outfit in Saudi Arabia and from other accused on directions of his father Mohammad Yousuf Shah alias Syed Salahuddin, the supreme commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen.

Salahuddin was declared a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” by the US Department of State in June last year.

The NIA has claimed that Yousuf has received a total of nearly Rs 4.5 lakh through eight international wire transfers. It had also registered two other cases related to “terror funding” — one in November 2011 and the other in May 2017. It had filed a charge-sheet against 10 people including Salahuddin in the April 2011 case.

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