After 7 months in Tihar, Kazmi gets relief from SC

Friday

The Supreme Court on Friday granted bail to Syed Mohammad Ahmed Kazmi, who has been in custody since March 6 for allegedly aiding the February 13 attack on an Israeli diplomat on Aurangzeb Road in the capital.

The court said Kazmi, who claims to have been writing for an Iranian publication, has acquired his statutory right to bail on July 17.

Allowing his appeal, a bench led by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, set aside a magisterial court's order of July 20, extending the time of investigation and custody of Kazmi by another 90 days with retrospective effect from June 2.

Kazmi had challenged the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's (CMM) order. He said he had moved for bail on July 17 when Additional Sessions Judge S S Rathi had quashed the magistrate's order extending his detention and the probe period from 90 to 180 days.

Rathi had said the order was passed "in a most reticent and clandestine manner" since Kazmi was not heard.

The CMM did not hear his application on July 17. A day later, the prosecution filed another application for extension of his remand. The CMM issued a formal notice to Kazmi this time. On July 20, the CMM again allowed the extension of time from 90 and 180 days with retrospective effect from June 2.

Kazmi challenged this order at the sessions court and in the Delhi High Court. But his pleas were rejected. Challenging these orders, Kazmi's counsel Mehmood Pracha told the apex court that the CMM could not have extended his custody once the 90-day period was over on July 17 and he acquired the legal right to be released on statutory bail.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) H P Raval countered his arguments, stating that once the period for completing investigation was extended, Kazmi's bail plea was rendered null and void. Hence, his appeal was to be dismissed.

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