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8 persons accused of links with SIMI acquitted

Eight persons, accused of having links with the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), were today acquitted by a local court for lack of evidence.

Those acquitted by the metropolitan magistrate’s court in suburban Kurla include Ehtesham Siddiqui and Tanvir Ahmed Ansari, who are also facing a trial in the July 2006 Mumbai train blasts case.

“The court acquitted all the eight accused after I argued that there was no evidence,” said their lawyer, advocate Sharif Sheikh.

He said Mumbai police had begun a crackdown throughout the city against SIMI on September 27, 2011, the day it was banned by the Centre under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

“Police raided an office in Kurla and claimed to have found some literature, photo of Osama bin Laden besides other material,” Sheikh said.

However, the court granted bail to all the accused as the copy of the notification in the official gazette had not reached the state home department on the day of ban.

Sheikh said that few minutes after all the eight accused were granted bail, police arrested them for allegedly shouting anti-national slogans in the court premises.

When the case came up for hearing, he argued that on the day of their arrest there was no notification, hence their arrest was bad in law.

“In the slogan-shouting case, police had produced only policemen as witnesses while no advocates or litigants were brought as witnesses,” said Sheikh.

The court acquitted all the eight persons in both the cases.

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