Attack on lecturer: 2 main accused get bail, SC upholds bail to Dr Raneef

By Staff Correspondent,

Kochi: The Ernakulam Additional Sessions Court yesterday granted bail for the two main accused in the attack on the lecturer in Muvattupuzha. Prime accused Jaffar (29) and second accused Ashraf (37) were granted bail on strict conditions by Judge V Shersy. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court yesterday upheld the bail granted to Dr Raneef (ninth accused) by the Kerala High Court. The SC bench comprising Js Markandey Katju and Dhyansudha Misra upheld the bail rejecting the appeal of the Kerala government.

The bail was granted to the two accused Jaffar and Ashraf as the police have not been able to submit chargesheet even after 180 days of arrest. The bail was granted on condition of Rs 1 lakh and two sureties for the like sum. The accused have to follow several conditions for the bail, such as to present themselves before the investigating officer every Monday and Saturday, to submit their passports, if any, at the court within 10 days of release on bail, not to go beyond the premises of the Muvattupuzha Police Station but to be present before the investigating officer, not to leave the Ernakulam district without the permission of the court, not to take part in any programme of the PFI or sister organizations in the bail period, etc.

While considering the appeal in the case of Dr Raneef, the court reportedly said that the delay in concluding the trial is an important matter to be considered in such cases as the one mentioned. ‘Often this takes several years and if the accused is denied bail but is ultimately acquitted, who will restore so many years of his life?’ – It reportedly asked. It added that since the PFI has not yet been proved to be a terrorist organization, the respondent could not be penalized for merely belonging to the PFI. Dr Raneef, who is a dentist, is accused of having treated the 37th accused in the case.

The Supreme Court reportedly noted that Dr Raneef could not be denied bail just because he had attended to one of the accused injured in the attack. It pointed out that the prosecution had not named Raneef in the list of persons who directly took part in the attack.

The police reportedly accuse that Jaffar and Ashraf are involved in the conspiracy of the attack. Jaffar is accused of handing over the vehicle used by the attackers to the second accused Ashraf and of trying to destroy evidence. Ashraf is accused of trying to destroy the vehicle.

Prof Anas, 47th accused, has already been granted bail. He had contested in the recently-held local body polls representing the Vanchinad Division in the Vazhakkulam Block and had won in a large margin. However, the government has reported appealed against his bail also.

Prof TJ Joseph, lecturer of Malayalam at the Newman College in Thodupuzha, was attacked by a gang and his right hand chopped off on July 4, 2010. Mr Joseph was accused in a blasphemy case for which he was in jail. He was on bail when the attack took place. He was later suspended from the College by the management on the charge of blasphemy. The police have reportedly accused 54 persons of involvement in the attack on the lecturer, however only 29 have been arrested so far. Yet, the police were not able to submit chargesheet within 90 days of arrest. Then the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act was charged on the accused which made it possible to continue without chargesheet for 180 days. Now the bail was granted as the 180-day limit also is over.