NIA court grants bail to Waheed Para, PDP youth leader accused of terror links

The NIA said Para had been arrested in connection with the Naveed Babu-Davinder Singh case for supporting the Hizbul Mujahideen in a conspiracy

Press Trust of India January 10, 2021 07:37:37 IST
NIA court grants bail to Waheed Para, PDP youth leader accused of terror links

PDP youth wing chief Waheed Para. Twitter/@parawahid

Jammu: PDP youth president Waheed Para was on Saturday granted bail by an NIA court, after remaining in custody for one-and-a-half months for his alleged links with terrorists of Hizbul Mujahideen.

However, he was whisked away by sleuths of a security agency as he came out of the district jail on being released but it was not immediately clear whether he was wanted in any other case or detained for questioning.

The NIA is likely to challenge the granting of bail to Para in the high court.

PDP president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti expressed concern over the latest detention of 32-year-old Para and sought the intervention of the Lt Governor Manoj Sinha for securing his release.

Para, who recently won district development council (DDC) elections from his home town Pulwama district of south Kashmir, was produced in the NIA court, which granted him the relief on a surety bond of Rs one lakh and the personal bond of the like amount, officials said.

Additional Sessions Judge Sunit Gupta, in his order, set several conditions for the bail and asked the PDP leader not to leave the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir without prior written permission of the court, approach any of the prosecution witnesses with the purpose to win them over, commit any offense during the period of interim bail and also surrender his passport with the investigating officer of NIA.

Para was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on 25 November last year, a few days after filing nomination papers as a People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) candidate.

The NIA had said Para was arrested in connection with the Naveed Babu-Davinder Singh case for supporting Hizbul Mujahideen in conspiracy with the other accused persons, a charge denied by the PDP which had termed his arrest as "politically motivated".

Para was considered to be a key motivator for youth to join mainstream politics in Pulwama and adjoining the Shopian district of south Kashmir when militancy was raising its head there again.

As secretary of J&K Sports Council from 2016 to 2018, Para played a major role in organising sporting events in the nook and corner of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state which included the Ladakh region.

In his order, the judge questioned the non-mention of the name of the accused in the original as well as supplementary charge sheets even if his name was revealed by one of the terrorists during his statement to the NIA in February last year.

"From the perusal of the original as well as the supplementary charge sheets already presented in the court (on 6 July, 2020 and 23 October, 2020 against a total of eight accused), I nowhere find the reference of the present applicant...the investigation agency has apprehended the present applicant on the basis of the so-called disclosure statement of one of the accused which as alleged to be given by him to the investigating agency in the month of February 2020," he said.

In his disclosure statement, as per the NIA, Babu said that his colleague Irfan Shafi Mir, another arrested accused in the case, had contacted Para who sought favour of Hizbul Mujahideen in parliament election during campaigning and got Rs 10 lakh from him which was later handed over to Singh for purchasing five AK assault rifles for the terror group.

The court said the confessional statement of the accused was not recorded by the magistrate as required by the law but was given to the investigating officer and is not admissible as evidence since no recovery was made to prove the charges.

"Even if we shut our eyes to the aforesaid illegality or inadmissibility of the aforesaid statement, the said statement cannot be used against the present accused at this stage of the investigation," Gupta said in his order.

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