Sufiya’s arrest to be delayed

via VR Jayaraj | Kochi - Daily Pioneer published on December 14, 2009

The special police team, which had reached the village of Abdul Nasser Madani in Kollam late Sunday night to arrest his wife Sufiya Madani, tenth accused in the terror case of burning a Tamil Nadu State bus off Kochi, returned on Monday without fulfilling its mission for want of the go-ahead from the police top brass.

The decision not to arrest Sufiya now was taken after the Kerala High Court posted her anticipatory bail plea for consideration on Thursday. In this context, sources said, Sufiya’s arrest could be delayed, at least till the court reached a decision on the petition. The police had on Friday listed Sufiya as the tenth accused in the case of bus-burning, masterminded by Thadiyantavide Nazeer, LeT’s South India commander, for conspiracy and incitation.

The Prosecution acted strangely in the court on Monday by not opposing a prayer from Sufiya’s counsel to grant more time for examining some additional records relevant to the anticipatory bail plea. Justice KT Sankaran, who considered the bail plea, said the petition was being posted to Thursday as the Director General of Prosecutions had not opposed the prayer for postponement.

Sufiya’s counsel Chidambaresan prayed to the court for an assurance that Sufiya would not be arrested before the court took a decision on the bail application, but the Prosecution said no such assurance could be given. Chidambaresan also said that Sufiya would present herself before the investigators for questioning if she would not be assured, but the Prosecution said that it was up to the investigating agency to take a decision on such matters.

However, the efforts of the plaintiff to avoid the arrest somehow and the weak arguments put forward by the Prosecution against it were not lost on the court. Justice Sankaran said that the court should not be dragged into unnecessary arguments and that he would take a decision on the anticipatory bail plea depending on the nature of the terror case.

Conflicting reports came from different levels of the Police force on Monday after the team from Kochi returned empty-handed from Mdani’s village Anvarssery in Kollam district. While some officials said that Sufiya could be arrested even before Thursday as the High Court had not ruled against it, some top officials indicated that a political decision was yet be taken on the matter, giving credibility to rumours that the Government was deliberately delaying the arrest.

However, leaders of Madani’s PDP refused to speak about the possibility of Sufiya’s surrender to the police with the arrest now becoming almost unavoidable. Sources in the party felt that the High Court was unlikely to grant bail to Sufiya as the case was related to terror act. But some police officials said they expected Sufiya to surrender.

Madani himself seemed to have come t terms with the situation when he said at his residence in Anvarssery that Sufiya would not resist arrest if the court decision went against her. “There is no question of not cooperating with the investigations,” he said, but added that he could not predict the responses if there was a move to “exile the family” (to Karnataka or some other state).

A heavy police posse, with a large number of women personnel, had set their camp secretly in and around Anvarssery late Sunday night itself. The move of the police team, headed by Sunil Jacob, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Kochi was so discreet that even the army of mediamen camping in the area did not have any clue about this till noon, Monday.

The move of the police team was to arrest Sufiya immediately if the court dismissed her anticipatory bail plea. But the team had to return in the absence of a go-ahead from the top brass, which had got the legal advice not to arrest Sufiya till the court’s decision came. This gave rise to allegations that the LDF Government was deliberately delaying the arrest.

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