A Mahim resident, convicted for passing vital defence related information to an agent of Pakistani intelligence agency, the Inter Service Intelligence (ISI), has moved the Bombay High Court in appeal.
The convict, Afzal Daood Darvesh, has moved the high court through his counsel Shreyans Mithare after the Pune sessions court upheld his conviction and sentence on June 10.
On May 28, 2009, a magistrate court in Pune had convicted him for passing secrets of Indian defence to an enemy country and conspiring to commit acts detrimental to India’s security and sovereignty. He was sentenced to seven years of rigorous imprisonment on both counts.
The Mumbai police crime branch arrested Darvesh, who was a partner in a garment business in Pakistan, in June 1999 after the arrest of Pakistani national and ISI agent Sayeed Ahmed Desai and two of his local accomplices , Abdul S Hingora and Shahanawaz Mohammed.
According to the prosecution, the ISI agent, on several occasions, collected secret information and passed it on to his Pakistani bosses through Darvesh.
In his appeal before the high court, Darvesh contended that the trial court failed to consider that no incriminating document had been found in his possession, and therefore the provisions of the Officials Secrets Act, 2003, were not applicable to him.He further contended that all the five passports seized from his residence were genuine and belonged to his family members. He claimed that there was no evidence to prove his collusion with other co-accused and that he aided and facilitated the commission of the offence.
The appeal will come up for hearing before a single judge bench of justice RP Sondurbaldota.
The police arrested Sayeed Desai in 1999. He was convicted on October 4, 2007, after he pleaded guilty and admitted all the charges leveled against him. Four of his accomplices – Ziauddin Shaikh, David Manuel, Abdul Hingora and Imtiaz Dalal – have also been convicted by the magistrate court.