The Supreme Court on Tuesday cancelled the bail granted to Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali by the Delhi High Court in connection with a terror funding case. The court said the National Investigation Agency has gathered enough evidence to believe that the accusations against Watali are prima facie true, PTI reported.
Watali has been accused of transferring funds received from Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed, the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, among others, to Hurriyat leaders. The NIA claimed Watali helped them wage war against the government of India by repeated attacks on security forces and government establishments, Live Law reported.
He has been booked under relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. The Delhi High Court had granted him bail in September 2018.
The Supreme Court observed that the High Court had adopted an “inappropriate approach” while hearing Watali’s bail plea by discarding the evidence presented by the NIA. The High Court should have taken into account the totality of the material and evidence on record as it is and should not have discarded it as being inadmissible, the bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Ajay Rastogi noted, according to Live Law. The High Court should have formed an opinion on the basis of the material before it, it added.
“The elaborate examination or dissection of the evidence is not required to be done at this stage [of grant of bail],” PTI quoted the bench as saying. “The court is merely expected to record a finding on the basis of broad probabilities regarding the involvement of the accused in the commission of the stated offence or otherwise.”
Besides Watali, the NIA has accused Saeed, Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahudeen and nine others of “conspiring to wage war against the government” and fomenting trouble in Kashmir. The investigating agency has also named separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s son-in-law Altaf Shah in the charge sheet.