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Conversion syndicate case: SC asks UP to apprise it of specific role attributed to Islamic scholar

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked Uttar Pradesh to apprise it of the specific role attributed to Islamic scholar Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui, who was arrested in September 2021 for allegedly running a religious conversion syndicate.

The apex court was hearing a plea filed by the State challenging the Allahabad High Court order passed in April this year granting bail to Siddiqui in a case lodged for alleged offences under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the provisions of the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, 2021.

A bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Sanjay Kumar asked senior advocate Garima Prashad, appearing for UP, to give a tabular statement on “what is the specific role attributed to this person (Siddiqui)” and what was placed before the high court.    The bench has posted the matter for resumed hearing on September 5.

The high court had granted bail to Siddiqui on April 5 while noting that two co-accused had already secured the relief.

It had noted that one of the co-accused was granted bail by the apex court, while the other was given the relief by a coordinate bench of the high court.

During the arguments before the apex court on Tuesday, Prashad said the high court had granted bail to Siddiqui solely on the basis that the co-accused were granted the relief.

“He (Siddiqui) is the main accused, the key conspirator,” the senior lawyer said.

She claimed further probe in the matter has revealed how the “national level network” was working towards the objective of waging war against the Constitution of India and how it seeks to replace the Constitution with ‘Sharia’ law.

The bench observed, “Conversion per se is permissible.”

Prashad said, “There is no issue on that…. Conversion while following the means that were being followed here – means of allurement, threat, torture, money, everything is coming, is not permissible.”

While granting bail to Siddiqui, the high court had said if he is found engaging himself in promoting any anti-social activities or misusing the liberty of bail or repeating any offence as alleged, it shall be open to the state to file an application for cancellation of bail.

The apex court, while hearing the matter on May 9, had said during the period Siddiqui remains enlarged on bail, he shall not leave the National Capital Territory of Delhi except for the purpose of attending the trial or for meeting the investigating officer.

“If he leaves the National Capital Territory of Delhi for the aforesaid purposes, then too he shall give prior intimation about his movement to the ACP, Anti Terror Squad, Noida. The respondent (Siddiqui) shall give the full address of the premises in which he shall reside in Delhi to the ACP, Anti Terror Squad, Noida,” the top court had said.

“During his stay in Delhi in terms of our order, he shall keep and use only one mobile phone with location setup open so that his location can be traced at any point of time by the investigating agency and he shall forthwith share that mobile number with the ACP, Anti Terror Squad, Noida,” it had said.

 

 

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