Anti-extortion cell restrained from arresting Haseena
Urvi Mahajani , Hindustan Times
Mumbai, May 23, 2007
First Published: 20:47 IST(23/5/2007)
Last Updated: 20:50 IST(23/5/2007)
After another day of drama, don Dawood Ibrahims’s sister Haseena secured anticipatory bail on Wednesday but only after she gave an assurance to appear before the metropolitan magistrate on May 24 before noon.
Once again to divert the attention of media and officers of the Anti Extortion Cell (AEC) eight Haseenas were present in the court room, however only five were seen entering the sessions court compound by the photographers keeping a bird eye’s view at the different gates.
Sessions judge ND Deshpande directed AEC not to arrest her till the time she surrenders before the additional chief metropolitan magistrate (ACMM) and the magistrate decides on her bail application. At the same time, judge has allowed the prosecution to seek her custody from the ACMM. The ACMM has to simultaneously decide on the custody and bail applications. However, she will be kept under surveillance by the AEC.
The drama began at 11.20 am on Wednesday and continued till 5.30 pm with two breaks in between. And during the day-long hearing, Haseena felt giddy on two occasions. Concerned, the judge directed the police officer to ensure that persons not concerned with the case should leave the court room in rotation for fifteen minutes.
On a query from judge Deshpande, Haseena’s daughter (one of the eight burkha clad women) replied that she (Haseena) was suffering form Blood Pressure problem. "She has taken her medicine, however she has not had lunch," said her daughter.
After judge Deshpande granted her anticipatory bail, Haseena’s lawyer Shyam Keswani requested that the ACMM be directed to decide on her bail application by May 25. To this, the judge replied, "Ab aap ko jo order chahiya tha wohi to hai, sifr sign mera hai," (the order is what you wanted, I have just signed it). However, no time frame was given to ACMM to decide on the applications as the AEC has been directed not to arrest her till it is decided.
Opposing Haseena’s anticipatory bail, public prosecutor Rohini Salian said that she (Haseena) is the leader of the gang indulging in threatening and extortion activities.
Interestingly, at this point Judge Deshpande questioned, "Whether a woman is a Hindu or a Muslim, how can an Aryan woman run a gang in India." Salian responded that gender had nothing to do it and it was about criminality. Salian also clarified that Haseena was not being targeted since she was Dawood’s sister, but was being chased due to her complicity in the case.
Haseena’s lawyers Harshan Ponda and Keswani argued that the police case that indulged in extortion and kept Rs. 30 lakh while returning the remaining Rs. 70 lakh was baseless. "For Dawood’s sister, Rs. 1 crore would be minor thing then why would she keep only Rs. 30 lakh assuming that initially she had Rs. 1 crore of demand drafts," argued Ponda.