LUCKNOW: Mohammed Alam, the taxi driver who was arrested along with Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan, walked out of jail on Thursday after 27 months of captivity.
Alam was driving the taxi in October 2020 in which Kappan and two others were going to Hathras, where a Dalit woman had died after she was allegedly gang-raped. They were arrested before they could reach the woman’s village.
Alam, along with Kappan and Popular Front of India (PFI) members Atikur Rahman and Masud Ahmad, was booked under UAPA and on charges of sedition and other IPC sections and provisions of the IT Act by the UP Police and then by the ED under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Senior jail superintendent, Lucknow, Ashish Tiwari, said that Alam got a bail order issued in both the cases and was hence released on Thursday at around 9.30am. He was lodged in Lucknow jail since November 2021. Prior to that he was in Mathura jail.
The lawyer representing Alam, Saifan Shaikh, told TOI that he (Alam) originally hails from Rampur and was booked in two cases. First was under the charges of sedition, UAPA and others by the UP Police, in which he was granted bail in October 2022. Thereafter, the ED had chargesheeted him under PMLA, in which Alam got bail in December.
“It took time for verification of his sureties,” said the lawyer. “Alam was just ferrying the passengers in his taxi to their destination. The offences under the sections mentioned in the charge sheet are not made out against him,” Alam’s lawyer had submitted in the court seeking his bail.
While talking about Kappan’s release, his lawyer Mohamed Dhanish KS told TOI that his sureties were yet to be furnished. He was granted bail by the Supreme Court in cases registered by the UP police. Later, the high court granted him bail in the PMLA case as well.
“We will furnish the sureties by Friday. During Kappan’s bail plea hearing we had raised the issue of delay in verification of the securities, to which the court has given us an oral assurance of getting it done within 10 days,” Dhanish KS told TOI.
The other accused aides of Kappan languishing in jail include office-bearers and members of PFI and its student wing Campus Front of India (CFI), Ateequr Rehman, Masood Ahmed, Rauf Shareef, Abdul Razzaq and Ashraf Qadir, who will have to seek a bail separately for release.
The UP Police in its chargesheet filed in April 2021 had stated that the accused had received funds to the tune of Rs 80 lakh from financial institutions in Muscat and Doha, to be utilised for spreading disharmony in the wake of the Hathras incident.
The ED had filed a prosecution complaint equivalent to a charge sheet against the PFI members for getting finances from abroad to help their alleged bid to disturb communal harmony in Hathras.

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