Surat court acquits youth claimed by police to be Bangladeshi national

The case pertains to the arrest of Salim Alias Bulbul Shaikh (33), a resident of the Navapura area in Salabatpura, in 2013.

The Surat Additional Sessions Court Saturday upheld a trial court order acquitting a youth claimed by police to be a Bangladeshi national and rejected the prosecution’s appeal.

The case pertains to the arrest of Salim Alias Bulbul Shaikh (33), a resident of the Navapura area in Salabatpura, in 2013. Claimed to have acted on a tip-off, the police slapped the Indian Passport Rules, 1950 Sections 3, 6, 8 and Foreigners Act, 1946 section 3(1)(2)(a)(g) and 14 on the accused.

The cops said the accused hailed from Bangladesh and had illegally crossed the international border and entered West Bengal. He then took the Howrah train and reached Surat around 15 years ago, and has been residing in the city ever since with his wife and children at a rented accommodation. Shaikh was working as a jewellery artisan at a private firm at the time of his arrest.

The police had also claimed they had recovered a copy of Shaikh’s birth certificate that showed Khulna Post, Kodil district in Bangladesh as his birthplace. Shaikh was sent to judicial custody once his remand period ended and his bail applications were rejected by the courts.

Meanwhile, the cops had submitted a charge-sheet with affidavits, witnesses and panch, framing charges against him.

As the trial progressed, advocate ID Patel, appearing for the accused, had submitted Shaikh’s birth certificate that showed Hubli in West Bengal as his place of birth. Following days of trial, Judicial Magistrate First Class judge MB Ghasura passed an order on April 23, 2014, acquitting the accused from all the charges. The judge had noted that the prosecution could not establish the charges against the accused and no copy of his birth certificate was even produced as evidence. The prosecution also failed to prove how and when the accused had entered India and how he had come to Surat from Kolkata. The court declared that the accused was, indeed, an Indian citizen.

Following his acquittal, Shaikh, who had spent around seven months in jail by then, was released on bail.

But soon, Salabatpura police sub-inspector VS Taviyad filed an appeal in the sessions court in July 2014.

However, in more setback to the police, Session Judge KS Trivedi passed an order Saturday upholding the trial court order.

“We are satisfied with today’s Surat sessions court order. During the trial, we had submitted necessary documents to support that he was not a Bangladeshi national which the court had taken into consideration,” said defence lawyer Patel.

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