SC grants bail to Gujarat’s Islamic scholar in ‘forced conversion’ case

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India Tomorrow

New Delhi–Supreme Court has granted pre-arrest bail to Gujarat’s Islamic scholar Abdul Wahab who was booked for allegedly converting 37 Hindu families and 100 individuals.

Passing the order on Wednesday, a bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice CT Ravikumar said the petitioner had appeared before the investigating officer for interrogation as per court orders.

 “In the facts and circumstances of the case narrated herein and the fact that petitioner has been protected by interim order since 13.05.2022 and thereafter has appeared before the Investigating agency as per the subsequent order by this court, we deem it proper to confirm that ad interim order passed earlier and direct that in case of arrest of the petitioner he is released on bail on the terms and conditions which may be imposed by the trial court,” the court said

The court was hearing an SLP challenging the Gujarat high court order rejecting the petitioner’s anticipatory bail.

Kanu Agarwal, counsel appearing for the state, argued that the petitioner was giving evasive replies during the investigation and therefore custodial interrogation would be required.

The court allowed the Investigating Agency to move an application seeking custodial investigation if required, which will have to be heard on the merits.

“It goes without saying that if the state/investigation agency thinks that the custodial investigation is required, in that case, it will be open for the agency to move an appropriate application before the concerned court and the present order shall not come in the way of investigating agency,” the court said.

Earlier, Gujarat high court had rejected the anticipatory bail of the petitioner. The petitioner was booked under section 4 of the Freedom of Religion Act and section 120B, 153 (B) (1) (C), 506 (2) of the Indian penal code.

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