Mohammed Zakir Abdul Haque Shaikh (28), the alleged Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative, will have to face the trial after the Bombay High Court dismissed his discharge application on Friday.
A division bench of Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice V.K. Tahilramani on Friday dismissed Shaikh’s discharge application saying that there was prima facie evidence against him.
Court also agreed with the arguments of the counsels for the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) – Usha Kejariwal and Raja Thakare – that it was for the trial court to decide whether the prosecution had established Shaikh’s identity or not.
Shaikh was arrested on September 24, 2008, along with four other IM suspects after the group claimed responsibility for the serial blasts in Delhi, Ahmedabad, Surat and Bangalore. Shaikh’s counsels – Senior Counsel S.R. Chitnis and Advocate Khan Abdul Wahab – sought his discharge saying that the prosecution had failed to prove his identity.
Three other alleged IM operatives had given confessional statements about them having gone across border for training, based on which the ATS had arrested Shaikh.
Chitins argued that besides the statement of accused, the prosecution does not have any other evidence to corroborate that he is the same Mohammed Shaikh. Counsels for the ATS had opposed the discharge application saying that Mohammed Zahir has 20 cases registered against him at Ahmedabad and 15 cases at Surat in Gujarat.
The alleged IM accused are also booked under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, Unlawful Activities Prevention (Amendment) Act, Explosives Act and IT Act.