Srinagar: The Chairman of the Jammu Kashmir Muslim League Masarat Alam has been granted bail in a sedition case of 2010. Alam had then allegedly circulated a video asking forces personnel to leave Jammu and Kashmir. The court granted Alam bail against surety and personal bond of Rs 50000. J&K government authorities have booked separatist leader Masarat Alam Bhat (45) in 49 cases since 1990 and 32 times under the Public Safety Act (PSA).
According to Muhammad Rafiq Ganie, General Secretary of Jammu Kashmir Muslim League Masarat Alam has been booked in 49 FIRs till date. Out of these 49 FIRs, courts have bailed out him in 35 cases and acquitted him in six cases. In rest of eight cases, he is facing trial in Srinagar court and one in Baramulla court. We are yet to move bail applications in these eight cases, and soon Masarat Alam will be a free man”.
Despite prosecution who insisted the rejection of bail from court, but court rejected the State’s objections, saying “heinousness of offence alone is not the criteria to refuse the bail. In this case it appears that the severity of punishment attached will compel the accused to evade the process of trial, then in such circumstances heinousness of offence and element of escaping from the clutches of law shall stand in the way of granting concession to the accused,” the court said. “There is no likelihood of the accused evading trial when no material to that effect has been placed on record by the prosecution,” the court added.
The State prayed for rejection of bail application, saying the accused is involved in non-bail able offences as such cannot claim bail as a matter of right “Continuity in custody shall result in his pre-trial punishment and is likely to deny him an opportunity to seek appropriate legal assistance in preparing an effective defence,” the court said.
Police had stated that the evidence collected by the investigating agency establishes prima-facie case against the accused for offence 13 ULA (P) Act, 506 and 124-A /RPC “and as such this application of the accused merits rejection.”
The court granted bail to Alam on the condition that he shall not by any mode or manner cause any “inducement, threat or coercion to the prosecution witnesses to depose in his favour and will not commit or repeat the similar offence in future.” Earlier, Alam through his counsel Farooq Ahmad Bhat rejected the charges leveled against him, saying FIR was lodged on behalf of some influential politician.