The Supreme Court has upheld the seven years rigorous imprisonment awarded to a man for spying for Pakistan intelligence agency and supplying secret information to it about the Indian military establishment.
The court also held that even if police conduct search of a premises in an illegal manner, it would not affect the legality of the search and dismissed the plea of Safi Mohammad who had contended that material seized from his house should not be taken into consideration as it was done illegally and without warrant.
Mohammad was arrested in March 1990 in Jodhpur and documents of strategic importance were recovered from him after police searched his house.
"Even if the search is made by the investigating officer in illegal manner, the same does not affect the legality of the search and investigation made by the investigating officer with regard to the seizure of the documents from the house of the appellant in view of the law laid down by this court," a bench of justices C K Prasad and V Gopala Gowda said.
Mohammad was named in a charge sheet and convicted by the trial court under various provisions of Official Secrets Act. The lower court sentenced him to undergo seven years of rigorous imprisonment.
Safi then moved the Rajasthan High Court which dismissed his plea. After that he filed an appeal in the Supreme Court.
The apex court after hearing his contentions said that his appeal is devoid of merit and dismissed it.
"... having regard to the nature of charges made against the appellant under Sections 3 (penalties for spying), and 4 (communication with foreign agents) of the act as he is found to be guilty along with other accused persons and rightly convicted and sentenced them for seven years rigorous imprisonment. The appeal is devoid of merit and is liable to be dismissed and is accordingly dismissed," the bench said.
"From the evidence produced by the prosecution in the case in hand, it is clear that the documents of strategic importance to the nation have been recovered from the possession of the appellant and other accused and they have failed to give satisfactory explanation about the documents being in their possession," it said.
The apex court also refused to accept Safi's plea that the court should not rely on the seized documents as police had searched his house in violation of law.
"The investigation does not become defective as contended by him for reason that the search warrant was not obtained. The recovery of documents and articles from the his house could not be rejected," the bench said.