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Terror accused can be booked under both MCOCA and UAPA: Bombay HC

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday held that an accused can be booked under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) as well as the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in a terrorism related case.

A division bench headed by Justice PV Hardas today set aside an order of a lower court which said that an accused cannot be booked under both the Acts.

The High Court was hearing an appeal filed by the state government challenging the order of the special MCOCA court of August 2, 2014, which had discharged Firoz alias Hamaja Abdul Hamid Sayyed – an accused in the serial bomb blasts in Pune in 2012 – from the charge under MCOCA.

The trial court had then transferred the case to a regular court, to be tried under UAPA and IPC.

Special public prosecutor Raja Thakare argued that the trial court’s order needs to be set aside on the ground that it was “perverse and bad-in-law.”

The government claimed that the conclusion of the special judge, that a banned terrorist organisation cannot be said to be an organised crime syndicate and that the provisions of MCOCA could not be attracted to the act committed in the present case as they were acts of terrorism, is “erroneous”.

Sayyed had moved an application before the special MCOCA court at Arthur Road Central Prison in January 2014 seeking discharge from MCOCA, saying that he was booked for committing the same crime under the MCOCA, a special state enactment, and also the central UAPA.

The ATS had arrested nine accused during the course of investigation and a charge sheet was been filed under the MCOCA after obtaining permission from the authorities concerned.

Sayyed was arrested for allegedly conspiring and planting bombs at two of the six targeted spots on Junglee Maharaj (JM) Road. Five of the six bombs exploded on August 1, 2012, leaving one person injured. He was arrested by the Delhi Police Special Cell on December 12, 2012, along with four others.

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