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The National Investigation Agency (NIA) told the Madras High Court on Wednesday that it has enough evidence to charge Madurai-based lawyer M Mohammed Abbas under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for allegedly being a member of the banned Popular Front of India (PFI).

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the NIA, refuted Abbas’ accusation of malafide and told a panel of Justices M Sundar and R Sakthivel that if the Court hears the audio recording supplied by the investigating agency, it will realise the point the agency was attempting to convey. [1]

Mehta further stated that the Court should consider the issue of malafide only afterwards, not at the point of petition admission.

“A malafide charge against an individual is understandable. But how can an accused plead malafide against an entire investigation agency? “The NIA is not naive,” Mehta stated.

The Court was considering a plea filed by Abbas to vacate the first information report (FIR) issued against him.

The Solicitor General requested that the Court listen to the audio recording in the judges’ private chambers and instructed the Court not to republish any of the material from the aforementioned clip in its ensuing orders. The next hearing date is Friday, June 23, although the Court did not state if it will hear the audio clip before then.

Speaking on behalf of Abbas, senior attorney M. Ajmal Khan stated that if the court chooses to hear the audio recording, it must do so in the presence of the attorneys for all parties involved.

In a related hearing, the bench of Justices Sundar and Sakthivel also served notice to the NIA on a Habeas Corpus petition filed by Abbas’ kin, who claimed that the lawyers’ arrest and subsequent remand to custody (the lower court’s remand order only remands Abbas until June 22 without specifying whether he has been sent to police or judicial custody) were illegal.

An objection to remand cannot be raised through a Habeas Corpus plea, according to the NIA, which objected to the Habeas Corpus petition on grounds of maintainability.

However, the bench stated that it was of the first impression that the Habeas Corpus petition may be retained for hearing at the point of admission and ordered the High Court registrar to the number and lists it for hearing. [2]

Written by- Himanshu Mishra, a student at St. Mother Teresa Law Degree College, Lucknow, 2nd Semester, an intern under Legal Vidhiya.


[1] BAR AND BENCH, https://www.barandbench.com/news/litigation/evidence-madurai-lawyer-arrested-pfi-links-listen-audio-clip-chamber-nia-madras-high-court (last visited on June 22, 2023);


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