Antilia bomb scare case: NIA moves Bombay HC against special court order granting bail to bookie

By PTI

MUMBAI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday moved the Bombay High Court challenging a special court’s order granting bail to cricket bookie Naresh Gaur, an accused in the Antilia bomb scare case and killing of businessman Mansukh Hiran.

A special NIA court granted bail to Gaur on November 20, but he continues to be in in jail, as the court stayed its order for a period of 25 days.

Earlier this week, a single bench of the High Court set aside the stay order, noting that a sessions court judge does not have the power to stay his own order.

The probe agency, in its appeal, said the present case was a ‘terror crime’ and was committed with an intent to strike terror among people.

On Friday, the NIA’s advocate Sandesh Patil sought that the division bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and Sarang Kotwal must grant a stay on the single bench’s order so that Gaur can remain in jail.

Patil informed the court that Gaur has filed an application before the special NIA court seeking permission to submit temporary cash surety instead of bond.

The application is to be heard on Friday, the lawyer said, adding that pending hearing of the NIA appeal, his (Gaur) release should be stayed.

Gaur’s advocates Shirish Gupte and Aniket Nikam, however, argued that he (Gaur) has been in jail despite being granted bail on merits.

“Let him be released. He will surrender if the NIA’s appeal against the bail order is allowed,” Gupte told the court. The bench said it would start hearing the appeal from December 15 on merits.

Gupte then assured the court that till then they would not press for the special NIA court to hear their application for submission of temporary cash surety.

The NIA had arrested Gaur in March this year, accusing him of being involved in the Antilia bomb scare case and in the killing of businessman Mansukh Hiran.

According to the NIA, Gaur had provided SIM cards to the co-accused in the case.

The agency in its appeal in the High Court claimed that Gaur and the other accused in the case, including dismissed cop Sachin Waze had parked an explosive-laden vehicle outside the Antilia building, residence of industrialist Mukesh Ambani and his wife Nita Ambani, and thereafter killed Hiran, owner of the vehicle, with an intent to strike terror in the section of people residing in the area.

“The present crime involves the serious and heinous offence of murder which is the culmination of the conspiracy of planting of explosives near Antilia and threat to the Ambani family. This was an act of terror,” the NIA claimed in its appeal.

The special court had erred in appreciating the prima facie evidence available against Gaur in the case, the appeal stated.

“The special court has passed an erroneous order and gone into the question of accused Naresh Gaur allegedly not having active knowledge of conspiracy in this case,” it said.

“Gaur was fully aware that the SIM cards he was providing were to be used for extorting money and to commit criminal offences,” the NIA alleged.