The court had rejected Mulla’s plea last year for the Umrah pilgrimage but it allowed his fresh plea for Haj this time.
Mumbai: The Bombay high court has allowed Ateef Mulla - a convict in the case of three bomb blasts that rocked the city between December 2002 and March 2003 and killed 13 people – to travel to Saudi Arabia on Haj pilgrimage. Mulla had approached the HC seeking permission to travel abroad as one of his bail conditions was that he could not travel outside India without the court’s permission.
Mulla’s petition read that his four-and-a-half year old son was suffering from Beta Thalassemia Syndrome and had undergone bone marrow transplantation for the same in 2015. However, his son’s health wasn’t improving and hence, he wanted to visit the holy places of Mecca and Medina to offer special prayers for the recovery of his son.
The court had rejected Mulla’s plea last year for the Umrah pilgrimage but it allowed his fresh plea for Haj this time. The division bench of Justice B.R. Gavai and Justice Sarang Kotwal on Friday allowed Mulla’s application. Last month, the court had already allowed another application of Mulla and directed the registrar (judicial one) and the special POTA court to forward his passport to the concerned passport authorities so that they could decide whether his passport could be renewed or not, and kept his prayer seeking permission to visit haj pending.
Mulla’s lawyer, Tahera Qureshi, said, “We had pointed out to the court that he was the first person to get bail on merit in the blast case in 2005. Since then, he had been abiding by all conditions imposed by the court and till date, there was not a single default on any of the conditions.”
After being convicted in the blasts case by a special POTA court, Mulla filed an appeal in the high court challenging his conviction and 10-year sentence. While hearing his appeal, the HC on August 10, 2016, suspended the operation of the substantive sentence.