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HC denies bail to arms haul case accused, wants speedy trial

Bombay High Court

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has rejected the bail plea of an accused in the 2006 Aurangabad arms haul case, observing it would not be proper to release him when the trial is at its tail-end and asked the relevant lower court to expedite the proceedings.

Rejecting the bail application of Mohammed Sharif Shabbir Ahmed earlier this week, Justice Abhay Thipsay, however, directed the trial court to wrap up the proceedings at the earliest by conducting day-to-day hearing as all the accused are in jail since their arrest nine years ago.

Ahmed, one of the 22 accused arrested in the case, had moved the High Court for bail after the trial court rejected his plea in March 2014.

Ahmed and other accused were charged under various sections of stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), Indian Penal Code (IPC), Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Arms Act, Explosive Substances Act.

In May 2006, Maharashtra ATS had seized 10 AK-47 assault rifles, a packet of four magazines, 200 live cartridges and explosive substances after intercepting two cars near Aurangabad in Marathwada region of the state.

Ahmed and four other accused were apprehended from the second car which contained boxes stuffed with arms and ammunition.

Advocate Yug Choudhary, appearing for Ahmed, argued that the accused had no idea what the boxes contained.

“Ahmed cannot be said to be a part of the larger conspiracy to import and use arms and ammunitions which makes the case much more serious than merely possessing and handling arms, ammunitions and explosives,” he argued while pleading for bail to his client.

The HC, however, observed that since the trial is still going on, it is difficult to find out if a prima facie case has been made out against the accused.

“It would not be desirable to attempt to evaluate the voluminous evidence adduced during the trial and decide whether or not a prima facie case of the alleged offences is made out against the applicant,” Justice Thipsay said.

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