The fifth accused in the July 13, 2011 triple blasts case, Kafeel Ansari, on Wednesday moved the special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court, challenging the applicability of MCOCA to terror attacks.
Four years after he was arrested, Ansari, a suspected member of the Indian Mujahideen (IM), moved an application before the special judge V V Patil, seeking to be relieved of the charges under MCOCA. Ansari’s lawyer Ishrat Khan said that his case does not satisfy the essential provisions of MCOCA.
Ansari, in his six-page plea, raised the question that the MCOCA was not enacted to deal with cases of terror attacks. Referring to the debates of the Assembly in 1999, when the act of MCOCA was passed, Ansari pleaded that the act was passed to ‘overcome the specific type of offences prevailing only in the notified area of Mumbai city, which are committed with a view for gaining pecuniary benefits and these offences formed a group called as organised crime’.
He said the cases of terror attacks are not for pecuniary gain and were done by a group [IM] which was declared as a banned organisation under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Ansari has also said that unlike Gujarat, the state of Maharashtra has not made any amendment to bring the cases of terror under the umbrella of MCOCA.
“The offences of organised crime are committed by the syndicate against the individual or a group of specific type of people for gaining pecuniary benefit affecting the economy of the state, while the offence of terrorism committed by a banned organisation is against the Centre having an international ramification. This issue has been solved by the state government of Gujrat by passing a legislation in the name of The Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime Bill, 2015. In this legislation, organised crime includes terrorism,” reads the plea filed by Ansari.
Ansari was arrested on May 19, 2012 by the Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) for his role in the July 13, 2011 blasts. The agency alleged that he was part of the criminal conspiracy, aiding and abetting the explosions and providing logistical support in executing the crime. Ansari has alleged that the sanction granted by the top cops to prosecute him under MCOCA is without the application of mind and suffers from defects.
The application will come up for hearing after prosecution files it reply. Meanwhile, the discharge plea of another accused, Kanwar Pathrija, is also pending for hearing.