The NIA told the Delhi High Court on Thursday that Popular Front of India (PFI) chairman E Abubacker, lodged in a prison here under anti-terror laws, is trying to derail the probe by filing simultaneous pleas regarding his medical condition before the trial court and the high court.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) also told the court that the probe against Abubacker, who has sought his release from jail on medical grounds, is pending and he is getting the best possible medical treatment.
The submissions were made before a bench of justices Siddharth Mridul and Talwant Singh, which was hearing Abubacker’s plea challenging a trial court order that refused to release him on medical grounds.
Abubacker was arrested by the NIA during a massive crackdown on the PFA, a banned organisation, last year and he is presently in judicial custody.
“The investigation is pending. An extension of 60 days was granted to complete the investigation, but they are only trying to derail the process of investigation. What they want is that ‘we have some medical ailment and allow us to go to Kerala’. But this is to derail the investigation,” the counsel for the premier investigating agency told the court.
Advocate Adit Pujari, representing Abubacker, said he has a right to health and live with dignity and added that his 70-year-old client is not able to clean himself after responding to nature’s call due to multiple ailments.
“He has fallen in the toilet twice. When he was taken to the AIIMS in a jail van, he was not allowed to meet his son because he did not have the certified copy of the court order. He was not being provided with the same drug and was given a generic medicine,” Pujari said, adding that activist Gautam Navlakha was also released from prison on similar grounds of health condition.
The court noted that the investigation in the case is going on and Abubacker is in custody for the last three months only, which is the period for the agency to conclude the probe and file a chargesheet.
The court granted time to Abubacker’s counsel to place on record an additional affidavit on his client’s medical condition within a week and listed the matter for further hearing on February 1.
The court had earlier observed that the case against Abubacker was lodged under the provisions of the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), which does not pertain to trivial offences.
It had said when the petitioner’s grievance is with respect to receiving medical treatment on account of his ill health, he has to be sent to a hospital instead of being sent home.
The petitioner’s counsel had said his client’s health condition is serious. “Only treatment would not suffice”, but “post-treatment care” would also be required, he had told the court, and prayed for interim bail to his client for six months.
Earlier, the court was informed that Abubacker has cancer, suffers from Parkinson’s disease and is in “great pain”, which needs urgent medical supervision.
The NIA’s counsel had said the investigation in the case is going on, the petitioner has even been allowed a “sevadar” (assistant) in jail by the trial court and the proceedings before the high court are “parallel” in nature.
The agency had earlier told the court that Abubacker is “absolutely fine” and receiving the required treatment. It had said it is not opposed to medical treatment to the accused but the probe is going on.
Earlier, the court had refused to send Abubacker under house arrest and said he would be admitted to a hospital for treatment, if required.
It had said there is no provision in law for a “house arrest”, but directed that Abubacker be “escorted safely” to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here in custody for an oncosurgery review.
The court had also allowed his son to remain present at the time of consultation.
A large number of alleged PFI activists were detained or arrested in several states during massive raids preceding the nationwide ban imposed on the organisation on September 28, 2022.
In near-simultaneous raids across the country as part of a multi-agency operation spearheaded by the NIA, a large number of PFI activists were detained or arrested in 11 states and Union territories for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country.
The arrests were made in Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Puducherry, Delhi and Rajasthan, among other places.
The government has banned the PFI and several of its associate organisations for five years under the anti-terror law UAPA, accusing these outfits of having “links” with global terror groups, such as the ISIS.
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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)