Delhi HC Seeks NIA Stand on Plea by Convict in Case Under Anti-Terror Law

The Delhi High Court on Friday sought the stand of the National Investigation Agency on a plea by a convict against his conviction and 7-year jail term awarded by a trial court here in a case under the stringent anti-terror law for involvement in a conspiracy to establish an ISIS base in India and to carry out terror activities.

Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani issued notice on the petition by Mohsin Ibrahim Sayyed who prayed that his sentence should run concurrently with the sentence imposed upon him by a Greater Mumbai court in another case.

File response in six weeks, the judge told the counsel for the NIA.

On June 2, 2022, the trial court had sentenced the petitioner to seven years in jail for offences under the Indian Penal Code and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) alleged that the petitioner owed allegiance to the ISIS and was motivating Muslim youth in the country. It claimed he was training them to carry out terrorist activities in India and intended to shift them to countries like Syria, Iraq etc.

It was also claimed that one of the suspects in the case was in contact with a foreign based handler of ISIS and was conspiring to carry out terrorist acts by planting IEDs during the Ardh Kumbh Mela in Haridwar.

The counsel for the petitioner, while clarifying that he was not challenging the conviction and sentence by the Delhi court, argued that the fact of his conviction and sentence of eight years imprisonment by the Greater Mumbai court in January last year was not brought to the notice of the trial court here and hence a direction to run the two sentences concurrently should be passed by the high court.

In the case before the Greater Mumbai court, it was alleged that the petitioner was involved in instigating Muslim youths in Mumbai’s Malvani area and indoctrinating them to join ISIS.

The counsel for the NIA contended before the high court that the petition was not maintainable.

The plea has said the petitioner, who voluntarily pleaded guilty with the intention of reforming himself, was an auto-rickshaw driver before his arrest and has to support his aged parents, wife and two minor children.

“The Petitioner is a young, poor and illiterate man who, upon realizing the error of his ways as a result of being misguided; voluntarily plead guilty to the charges framed against him, with the intention of reforming himself, attaining education, and becoming a productive member of society,” the petition said.

“It is trite that courts ought to not ignore a circumstance where a convict is already serving a sentence of imprisonment, and should try to ensure that the totality of the sentences is correct. It is trite that a court can, even when substantive sentences of imprisonment have been imposed by courts in different trials/convictions, direct the concurrent running of such separate sentence,” it added.

The matter will be heard next on May 23.

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