Firdaus Jahan for BeyondHeadlines
The designated Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act (MCOCA) Court has granted bail to an accused in the famous Aurangabad arms haul case of 2006 yesterday, making it the second bail application approved in eight years to any accused in the case.
Riyaz Ahmed Mohammed Ramzan, who had allegedly helped a co-accused parking a vehicle laden with arms and ammunition, secured bail against surety of Rs.50, 000, said his lawyer Sharif Shaikh.
The bail order was delivered by GT Qadri at Arthur road jail court orally; detail order will be out soon, added Adv Sharif.
In his bail application filed in July 2013, Riyaz had pleaded that the trial has been pending since 2006 and all the 22 accused were languishing in jail without trial. The bail plea was moved by the lawyers of the NGO Jamiat Ulama-e-Maharashtra (Arshad Madani) which provides free legal aid to Muslim youth arrested on charges of terrorism across India.
JUeM lawyers Sharif Shaikh was assisted by Ansar Tamboli, Shahid Nadeem Ansari and Mateen Shaikh during argument on bail.
“This is the second bail granted to any of the accused who have been languishing in jail as under trials in the past eight years,” noted Adv. Sharif.
Shaikh had argued that there is no prima facie evidence against the accused Riyaz. He had not given any confession statement, and none of the co-accused had mentioned his name in their confession statements.
“The charges were framed against all the accused last year. So far, out of 247, only four witnesses have been examined by the court,” said Riyaz in his bail plea.
Adv. Sharif argued during the hearing that the only allegation against Riyaz was that he had moved computer boxes allegedly containing arms and ammunition from one place to another, and he helped in parking an empty car at a warehouse in Malegaon of Nashik district and transported empty Indica Car.
“The accused had no knowledge of the contents of the computer boxes in the Tata Indica car, so there is no evidence that he was the part of a conspiracy,” he argued.
Strongly opposing the bail application, Special Public Prosecutor Raja Thakre contended that Riyaz was deeply involved in the conspiracy, and granting him bail would influence the witnesses and send a wrong signal to the masses.
The Aurangabad arms haul case was cracked by the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) when a team of sleuths intercepted a Tata Sumo coming from Manmad and bound for Aurangabad on May 9, 2006.
After a hot chase, police finally managed to intercept it and nab one man, Mohammed Amir Shakil Ahmed, while two others escaped.
A search of the vehicle revealed an arms cache of 10 AK-47 army assault rifles, 40 magazine pouches and 30 kg black explosives.
Three days later, the ATS intercepted a Tata Indica car without a registration number near Nashik and later the investigator recovered two boxes of arms from a gutter on the outskirts of Manmad.
A couple of days later, May 14, 2006, the ATS recovered five computer cabinet boxes from an electrical shop containing five AK-47 rifles, five packs of 100 cartridges, five packs of 20 magazines, and 13 kg of explosive powder.