In an unprecedented order, the Supreme Court has asked the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to make arrangements for the accommodation of an accused and pay him a monthly allowance of Rs 6,000 till the pendency of his trial.
A bench of justices J Chelmeshwar and RK Agrawal on April 6 granted bail to Oinam Moniton Singha, a suspected member of the outlawed Manipuri insurgent group United Liberation Front (UNLF), deeming it appropriate since he had been in prison for almost four-and-a-half years. However, it laid down the condition that he would not enter any of the seven northeastern states, except for trial hearings, and would stay in Kolkata till then.
When Singha's lawyer submitted to the court that the accused had no means of sustaining himself in Kolkata, having been in custody since he was a student, the bench said, "We deem it appropriate to direct the National Investigation Agency to arrange for a reasonable place of stay at Calcutta (sic)… and also to him pay an amount of Rs 6,000 per month until disposal of the case. Needless to say, whenever the petitioner has to travel to Guwahati, the NIA will have to make necessary arrangements for the transport and other incidental expenses."
"It is the order of the Supreme Court of the country. We will comply with it," said an NIAofficer on condition of anonymity.
Officials in the federal agency, set up to combat terror in 2009 in the aftermath of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, said they had never come across such an order before.
Singha moved the Supreme Court after his bail applications were rejected by both the trial court in Guwahati and the high court there.
The former member of a student organisation was arrested by the NIA in September 2010 on the charge of receiving money from the UNLF to carry out anti-national activities. His name cropped up in emails exchanged by top arrested members of the UNLF, the NIA said.