SC denies bail to alleged member of Sikhs for Justice in UAPA case

07:50 PM Feb 08, 2024 | Team Udayavani |

The Supreme Court has refused bail to an alleged Khalistani separatist, who is purported to be a member of banned outfit ‘Sikhs for Justice’, saying materials on record prima facie indicated his complicity in preparation for a terrorist act.


A bench of Justices M M Sundresh and Aravind Kumar refused to interfere with the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s order refusing bail to Gurwinder Singh alias Gurpreet Singh Gopi in the UAPA case probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

”We are of the considered view that the material on record prima facie indicates the complicity of the accused as a part of the conspiracy since he was knowingly facilitating the commission of a preparatory act towards the commission of terrorist act under section 18 of the UAP Act,” the bench said, while dismissing Gurwinder Singh’s appeal against the high court order. On July 10, 2019, pro-Khalistan group ‘Sikhs for Justice’ (SFJ), founded by Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, was banned by the Centre for its alleged anti-national activities under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. A year later, on July 1, 2020, the Centre designated Pannun as a terrorist under provisions of the UAPA.

Gurwinder Singh, along with several others including Pannun, was booked by the NIA in 2020 for various offences under the IPC, the Arms Act and the UAPA. His involvement in the case came to fore based on the disclosure statement made by co-accused Bikramjit Singh alias Vicky, who was arrested by the Punjab Police when they busted a module of SFJ. Total nine members including Singh were arrested.

The Punjab Police had busted the SFJ module during the investigation of a case in which two persons were arrested on October 19, 2018 for hanging banners on a flyover at Amritsar on which ”Khalistan Zindabad” and ”Khalistan Referendum 2020” was written.


In April 2020, the probe into the case was transferred to the NIA keeping in view the severity of charges involved in the matter.

In its order, the apex court noted that in the disclosure statement, it was revealed that on July 8, 2018, Gurwinder Singh accompanied Bikramjit Singh and another co-accused Harpreet Singh to Srinagar in a car where they had planned to purchase a pistol for taking revenge of the sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib.

The bench rejected the submissions of Gurwinder Singh’s counsel that he has been in jail for the last five years which is contrary to the law laid down by the court. It said in this case, the trial was already under way and 22 witnesses including the protected witnesses were examined.

The bench said the material available on record indicated the involvement of Gurwinder Singh in furtherance of terrorist activities backed by members of SFJ involving exchange of large quantum of money through different channels which needs to be deciphered.

It said in such a scenario, if the appellant is released on bail, there is every likelihood that he will influence the key witnesses of the case which might hamper the process of justice.

”Therefore, mere delay in trial pertaining to grave offences as one involved in the instant case cannot be used as a ground to grant bail. Hence, the aforesaid argument on the behalf of the appellant cannot be accepted,” it said.

The top court also rejected the argument of Gurwinder Singh’s counsel that in the terror funding chart the name of the appellant does not find place. ”It is pertinent to mention that the charges in the present case reveal the involvement of a terrorist gang which includes different members recruited for multiple roles. Hence, the mere fact that the accused has not received any funds or nothing incriminating was recovered from his mobile phone does not absolve him of his role in the instant crime,” the bench said.

It added that scrutiny of call detail records indicated that Gurwinder Singh was in touch with Bikramjit Singh multiple times. ”The Call Detail Records (CDRs) unveil a consistent pattern of communication between the appellant and Bikramjit Singh (accused No.3) even prior to their trip to Srinagar for procurement of weapons. Detailed scrutiny of the CDRs indicates that the appellant had engaged in communication with Bikramjit Singh (accused No.3) approximately 26 times, spanning from June 22, 2018 to October 19, 2018, the day of his arrest,” the bench said.


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