SC adjourns bail plea of PFI member accused in Kerala Hand-Chopping Casetext_fields
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourned the petition filed by MK Naser, a member of the Popular Front of India(PFI), seeking bail in the case related to the chopping of the hand of Kerala Professor TJ Joseph in 2010.
A bench comprising Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice Hima Kohli listed the petition after four weeks, after the National Investigation Agency submitted that the trial is likely to be completed within 6-8 months
Senior Advocate R Basant, appearing for Naser, placed reliance on last year's judgment in the case of K.A Najeeb, in which the Supreme Court granted bail to a co-accused in the same case observing that a constitutional court can grant bail under UAPA taking into account the long delay in the trial
Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the National Investigation Agency(NIA), opposed bail by submitting that the trial in the case is going on and is expected to be over within 6 to 8 months. She submitted that the trial against one set of 31 accused got concluded in 2015, resulting in many convictions. Appeals against the convictions and cross-appeals by the NIA against certain acquittals are pending.
She added that the present petitioner is the mastermind of the crime and the trial against him got delayed as he was absconding for five years.
Basant submitted that only 73 out of over 300 witnesses have been examined so far and the trial is likely to take further time. The bench posted the matter after 4 weeks to ascertain the progress of the trial.
Naser has approached the Supreme Court challenging the judgment delivered by the Kerala High Court on March 31, 2021, which denied him bail.
A division bench of Kerala High Court noted that Naser, who was the PFI District Committee Convenor, was the "mastermind" behind the crime and that he had remained underground for five years after the crime. The Court also noted that in the earlier trial, 90 witnesses turned hostile due to threats and coercion by the absconding accused.