By PTI

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Wednesday termed as ‘serious’ the allegations against a jailed Surat-based lawyer that he was having links with terror outfit ISIS and refused to grant bail to him in the case.

A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana, however, took note of the fact that the accused Ubed Ahmed has been in jail since October 25, 2017, and even the charges against him have not been framed and ordered the conclusion of the trial in one year.

“Having heard learned senior counsel appearing for the petitioner, Solicitor General appearing for the state of Gujarat and carefully perusing the material available on record, we are not inclined to grant bail to the petitioner.

“However, taking into consideration the fact that the petitioner is reported to be in custody since October 25, 2017, and long pendency of the trial, we direct the concerned Trial Court to expedite the trial and conclude the same within a period of one year from the date of communication of a copy of this Order, by sitting two days in a week, without granting unnecessary adjournments to either of the parties,” the bench, also comprising justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, said in the order.

Senior advocate Siddhartha Dave, appearing for the accused, said that the applicant is a young advocate practicing in Surat with no antecedent or criminal history.

“There is a 5,000 page-long charge sheet. There are 95 witnesses, which are to be examined during the course of the trial and, therefore, there is no possibility of the conclusion of the trial in near future. Hence, the applicant will be enlarged on bail,” Dave said.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the state government, referred to the alleged link of the accused with ISIS and his visit to Syria.

“The allegations against you are very serious. We are on the issue of allegations only,” the bench said while expressing its reservation to the bail plea.

The bench also referred to the pandemic-induced problems leading to delay in trial and said that it may order early time-bound conclusion of proceedings in the case with no unnecessary adjournments.

The Gujarat High Court, on February 14, last year, had rejected the bail plea.

“This court is of the view that the respondent State has made out a prima ¬facie case against the applicant. Serious allegations are levelled against the applicant and there is sufficient material against the applicant in the investigation papers and, therefore, as per the provisions contained…, the applicant cannot be enlarged on bail,” the high court had said.

It had also considered the punishment prescribed for the alleged offences and the apprehension of the state government that the accused may tamper with the evidence if granted bail.

AS per the FIR, police came to know that the accused was radicalized by the philosophy of ISIS by one Safi Armar, resident of Syria/Iraq, and Abdullah Al Faizal of Jamaica.

“The applicant was discussing, advocating, disseminating ISIS ideology on social media or sharing social media links that supported ISIS ideology and talking about it to a few of his friends including original accused No.1 Kasim.

“The applicant in some intercepted mobile/What’s App communications talked about his wish/desire to buy a pistol, if available at a reasonable price, about the possible generation of funds through smuggling of cigarettes, gold or old cars,” the high court had noted in its order.