Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind sacks Advocate Mahmood Pracha

By A Mirsab, TwoCircles.net,

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Mumbai: Mahmood Pracha, a senior Supreme Court lawyer who was employed by Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind (Mahmood Madni) for defending terror cases is finally shown door due to his purported incumbency in defending accused and repeated absence during hearing of cases.

After coming to the lime light by securing bail for Ahmad Kazmi, accused of being a conspirator in the 2012 Israeli diplomat attack in New Delhi, Jamiat had appointed Pracha in 2013 to defend most of the 142 cases it is handling across the country.

However, now Jamiat alleges that it is prompted to sack Pracha after receiving multiple requests from accused persons and their family to remove him due to lack of interest shown by him in their cases.

Speaking with TwoCircles.net, Hafiz Mohammed Nadim Siddiqui President, Jamiat-Ulama-E-Maharashtra (Mahmood Madni) confirmed sacking of Pracha and said, “Jamiat is run through community’s money and we are accountable to the community. Since few months an atmosphere of dissent and disbelief had developed amongst the lawyers and accused. We were requested by families of accused to remove him from cases.”

He also said that Pracha was paid Rs. 2.5 Lakh per month by Jamiat for appearing in cases across India and it would also bear all his air traveling and hotel lodging expenses.

“We have total 17 advocates who are on our pay role. We used to pay maximum to Advocate Pracha but as he developed other interest and was failing to regularly appear in matters, we decided to take him down from our pay role since December”, Siddiqui said.

One of the lawyer from Jamiat panel told on condition of anonymity that lately Pracha was neglecting Jamiat cases and was concentrating on non-Jamiat cases of Food Safety. “He would remain present in these cases and at the same time causing adjournment in Jamiat cases where his presence was required for hearing”.

Last year Pracha appeared before Bombay High Court on behalf of the central government’s Food Safety and Standards Authority against Nestle India in the much-hyped tussle over the quality of Maggi.

“His repeated absence in our cases due to his personally taken up cases unnecessarily delayed proceedings in the matter causing frustration amongst the accused and their parents who would be waiting to see Pracha in court only to know that he was not coming”, Siddique explained the causes leading to their decision of dropping Pracha from the panel.

One of the parent of an accused in Delhi blast told TwoCircles.net, “We were shocked when he advised our son for accepting guilt before court and that as an agreement he would ask prosecution for lesser punishment. He spoke as if he is an agent of state. I reported this matter to Jamiat”.

Qamar Shaikh, 24, alleges that Pracha did not attend hearings in the case of his uncle Afzal Usmani , an accused in Indian Mujahideen case who allegedly ran away from court in September 2013, arrested after a month from Uttar Pradesh and sentenced to five years by Mazgaon court in January 2016.

“My uncle and brother Javed were sentenced in this case although there were many technical flaws in the case. Pracha initially told us that case is very weak and acquittal of both was certain due to which we requested Jamiat to give our case to him but he did not appear before court for argument”, disgruntled Sheikh told.

Mother of one of the accused from Pune told TwoCircles.net, “Previous lawyer was not working properly and therefore we had requested Jamiat to appoint Pracha. He initially shown good enthusiasm but later lost all the spirit in defending my son and would miss hearing. My son requested me to change him”.

What Pracha Says

Pracha has denied all these allegations and told TwoCircles.net, “I respect Jamiat and hence would not give any comments against it. I would just say that whatever is said against me is false; I cannot remain present in every matter. I was not provided with good advocate panel that would assist me”.

On asking if he was not assisted by junior lawyers or he was not provided with assistant lawyers by Jamiat, he told, “I never got good assistant even though I tried to find some capable assistants by paying them. I am still searching”.

He also denied that he was paid Rs.2.5 Lakh per month by Jamiat and told, “I worked free of cost and was not on Jamiat’s pay roll. If you want to know the truth about me then instead of speaking with anyone else from Jamiat directly ask Mahmood Madni.”

“I will continue to defend innocents free of cost if any accuse or his family approach me”, he added.