SC grants bail to UAPA accused says Payment of extortion money does not amount to terror funding

advocate supreme court LAW INSIDER IN

Soni Satti

The Supreme Court issued bail to a businessman accused under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), ruling that “paying extortion money does not amount to terror funding,”

A divisional bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and Ravindra Bhat was hearing a case in which a coal businessman was accused of paying money to members of the terrorist gang TPC and working with them to run his company smoothly.

The Supreme Court stated that when deciding whether to issue bail under Section 43(5)D, it is the Court’s responsibility to extend its mind to review all of the evidence on file to determine whether there is a prima facie argument or not.

The Supreme Court held, “A close scrutiny of the material placed before the Court would clearly show that the main accusation against the Appellant is that he paid levy / extortion amount to the terrorist organization. Payment of extortion money does not amount to terror funding,” 

As per the supplementary charge-sheet and other evidence on record the court also observed that other accused who are affiliates of the terrorist group have been systematically collecting extortion payments from businessmen in the Amrapali and Magadh districts.

The Court also ruled that the appellant could not be accused of conspiring with other TPC members to collect funds to promote the association based on prima facie evidence.

The Supreme Court overturned the High Court’s decision, saying that it isn’t convinced that a case of conspiracy has been brought out at this point based solely on the fact that the accused met members of the organisation and that the money taken from him was obtained by terrorist activity.

Besides, a sum of nearly 10 lakh rupees was discovered at his home, which the National Investigating Agency said was a kickback for the activities in which he collaborated with the terrorist gang.

However, the Supreme Court, stated that it, does not agree with the prosecution that the amount is a terror fund.”

The Apex Court concluded by saying, “At this stage, it cannot be said that the amount seized from the Appellant is proceeds from terrorist activity. There is no allegation that Appellant was receiving any money,” 

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