This was only the second bail application approved so far.
Riyaz Ahmed M. Ramzan, charged with helping a co-accused park a vehicle laden with arms and ammunition, secured bail of Rs.50,000, his lawyer Sharif Shaikh said.
The bail order, on the application filed last July, was given by Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) special court judge G.T. Qadri, he added.
Moving the bail application through NGO Jamiat Ulama-e-Maharashtra (AM), Riyaz pleaded that the trial has been pending since 2006 and all the 22 accused were languishing in jail without trial.
The JUeM team of lawyers included Shaikh, Ansar Tamboli, Shahid Nadeem Ansari and Mateen Shaikh, who are providing free legal aid to the accused.
Riyaz said the charges were framed against all accused in 2012 and till date only four witnesses out of 247 have been examined by the court.
Pleading for bail, Shaikh said there was no prima facie evidence against the accused Riyaz, he had not given any confessional statement and none of the other co-accused had named him in their confessional statements.
Advocate Ansari said the only allegation against Riyaz was that he had helped move the computer boxes, allegedly filled with arms and ammunition, from one place to another and helped park an empty car at a warehouse in Malegaon town of Nashik district.
“He had no knowledge of the contents of the computer boxes in the car, so there is no evidence that he was part of any conspiracy,” Ansari said.
Opposing the bail plea, Special Public Prosecutor Raja Thakre said Riyaz was deeply involved in the conspiracy and granting him bail could influence the witnesses and also send a wrong signal to the masses.
Two months ago, Oct 21, the Special MCOCA court had granted the first bail in the case to an accused – Javed Ahmed Abdul Majeed Ansari – who had helped park a vehicle containing the arms and ammunition.
The Aurangabad arms haul case was cracked by the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) when a team of sleuths intercepted a car coming from Manmad and bound for Aurangabad May 9, 2006.
After a hot chase, police finally managed to intercept the car and nab one man, Mohammed Amir Shakil Ahmed, while two others escaped.
A search of the vehicle revealed an arms cache of 10 AK-47 rifles, 40 magazine pouches and 30 kg black explosives.
Three days later, the ATS intercepted another car without a registration number near Nashik and later the investigator recovered two boxes of arms from a gutter on the outskirts of Manmad.
A couple of days later, May 14, 2006, the ATS recovered five computer cabinet boxes from an electrical shop containing five AK-47 rifles, five packs of 100 cartridges, five packs of 20 magazines, and 13 kg of explosive powder.