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SC rejects bail plea filed by alleged Khalistani separatist for involvement in SFJ case

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New Delhi, Feb 8

The Supreme Court has rejected the bail plea moved by an alleged Khalistani separatist who was booked by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) over his involvement in the activities of banned terrorist organisation ‘Sikhs for Justice’ (SFJ).

Saying that the accused Gurwinder Singh alias Gurpreet Singh Gopi was knowingly facilitating the commission of a preparatory act towards the commission of terrorist act, a bench of Justices M.M. Sundresh and Aravind Kumar denied to interfere with the April 2023 order of the Punjab & Haryana High Court.

Earlier, the High Court had rejected the grant of bail on the ground of seriousness of the nature of offence and that none of the protected witnesses had been examined.

“The material available on record indicates the involvement of the appellant in furtherance of terrorist activities backed by members of banned terrorist organisation involving exchange of large quantum of money through different channels which needs to be deciphered and therefore in such a scenario if the appellant is released on bail there is every likelihood that he will influence the key witnesses of the case which might hamper the process of justice,” the Supreme Court said in its judgement.

It said that mere delay in trial pertaining to grave offences cannot be used as a ground to grant bail, adding that the trial in the case is already under way and 22 witnesses including the protected witnesses have been examined.

The case relates to busting of a SFJ module during the investigation of a case where two persons were arrested in October, 2018 for hanging banners in Amritsar on which “Khalistan Zindabad” and “Khalistan Referendum 2020” was written.

The probe revealed that these acts were committed by a gang of radicalised Sikh youth under direction and financial assistance from SFJ handlers located abroad as part of an organised conspiracy for launching a concerted secessionist campaign for creation of ‘Khalistan’.

The case was initially registered by Punjab police and the NIA took over the investigation on April 5, 2020.

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