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Bail plea of Mir, Khanday and others deferred till July 7

Written by: Staff

Srinagar, July 4: A local court here today deferred till July 7 the bail applications of former Jammu and Kashmir Minister and sitting legislator Ghulam Ahmed Mir, senior IAS officer Mohammad Iqbal Khanday, BSF DIG K C Padhi and three others arrested by the CBI in connection with the sex racket case.

The bail applications were taken up before the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Srinagar Mohammad Yousuf Akhoon today.

The CBI also filed its report and obejections to the bail pleas and sought some time to engage a lawyer to plead the case.

While only the former Minister was represented by a lawyer, the other accused were unable to engage any counsel so far to plead their case.

Mir was represented by Rakesh Sehrawat, a Delhi High court advocate and an assistant of senior lawyer H R Khan Suhail.

After hearing the arguments, the Judge told the other petitioners to engage their counsels by the next date of hearing of bail pleas.

The bail applications of three other accused Jammu and Kashmir Police DSP Mohammad Ashraf Mir, Mehrajuddin Malik and Shabir Ahmed Laway (Kalla) also came up for hearing today.

The Judge said the Tehsil Legal Services Committee had forwarded the names of 60 lawyers as desired by the court, but none of them expressed willingness to plead the case of the sex racket accused.

The Kashmir Bar Assoctaion (KBA) submitted in the court that no lawyer was prevented by it from pleading the case of the accused.

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court had yesterday referred back to the CJM, Srinagar the bail applications of the accused.

The bail applications of the accused had come up before a division bench, comprising Justice Bashir Ahmed Kirmani and Justice Hakim Imtiyaz Hussain, yesterday.

The bench gave special powers to the CJM, Srinagar to hear and decide about the bail applications of the sex racket accused.

The bail pleas of the sex racket accused had been referred to the division bench by the CJM, Srinagar on June 23.

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court, which is monitoring the investigations conducted by the CBI into the sex racket case, in its directions on May 15 had ordered that any bail application for release of any seized person or articles should not be disposed of by any court unless brought to the notice of the division bench.

The CJM had yesterday remanded Khanday and Kawa in 14-day judicial custody and sent them to the Central Jail.

The CBI has so far arrested several top politicians, civil, police and paramilitary officials in connection with the case. Among the arrested are former Jammu and Kashmir ministers and sitting legislators Ghulam Ahmed Mir and Raman Mattoo, Principal Secretary in the Planning and Development Department Mohammad Iqbal Khanday, sacked state Additional Advocate General Anil Sethi, BSF DIG K C Padhi, Jammu and Kashmir Police DSP Mohammad Ashraf Mir, J&K Police Counter-Insurgency Kashmir (CIK) wing DSP Mohammad Yousuf Mir and Naaz Hotel manager Riyaz Kawa.

Mir, a former Minister of State for Roads and Buildings and a Congress legislator from Dooru in Anantnag district, was arrested by the CBI from the Jammu and Kashmir House at Chanakyapuri in New Delhi on June 20.

Mattoo, a former Minister of State for Industries and Commerce and an independent legislator from Habba Kadal in Srinagar, was also arrested by the CBI from his residence at Gupkar here on June 20.

DSP Mir was the first person to be arrested by the CBI in connection with the sex scandal.

The DIG BSF had surrendered before the CBI here on June 7 while Sethi, who was evading arrest since a proclamation notice was issued against him on June 14 by CJM following a request by the CBI, also surrendered in a local court at Jammu on June 21.

On June 29, the CBI arrested Khanday, an IAS officer of 1978 batch. He had served on several top posts, including the Principal Secretary to former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and was the first person from the Valley to have qualified in the Civil Services examination.

On the same day, the CBI also arrested Kawa from the Jammu airport. Both were arrested under section five of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act.

On June 30, the agency sleuths arrested CIK DSP Mir from his office at Hari Niwas here.

The sex racket case was handed over to the CBI by Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on May one following allegations that politicians, bureaucrats besides senior police and paramilitary officials were involved in the scandal.

As soon as the scandal surfaced, massive demonstrations erupted in the entire Kashmir valley and the angry protestors brought down the houses of alleged sex racket kingpin Sabeena at Habba Kadal in the old city on June 5.

On May three, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court took a suo motu cognizance of the case and then on May 12 admitted a public interest litigation filed by the Kashmir Bar Association.

Since then, the High Court is hearing the sex racket case and monitoring the investigations into the scandal by the CBI.

The case would come up before the bench again on July 6 after the CBI yesterday sought more time to make a significant headway in the investigations into the sex racket case and complete the statements of the accused and take further steps vis-a-vis the probe.


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