Two years ago, five men arrested on charges of being Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operatives pleaded guilty before a special court in Mumbai. After seven years of incarceration, Mohammad Irfan Gaus was the first among them to be granted bail this month. After his release from Taloja prison, he has claimed that he was innocent but pleaded guilty to avoid a prolonged trial and worsening of his family’s situation.
Last week, while granting bail to Gaus, the Bombay High Court observed: “Prima facie, at this stage, we are of the opinion that perusal of material made available to us does not show that there are reasonable grounds for believing that accusations against the appellant/accused no.4 (Gaus) are true.”
The Maharashtra ATS filed a chargesheet against the five, including Gaus, for offences punishable under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, IPC and the Arms Act. In October 2013, the case was transferred to the NIA.
READ | Suspected ‘LeT operative’ gets bail
Gaus (32) told The Indian Express, “The NIA told us that a few accused in a similar case have pleaded guilty before a special court in Bengaluru and sentenced to five years of imprisonment. NIA suggested that we consider pleading guilty. We decided to plead guilty and requested NIA to tell the court to grant us five years of imprisonment as we had already spent that time in jail,” he said. “We were left with no choice but to plead guilty, not…