Rawalpindi - An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Monday granted bails to six accused including the Top City housing society owner in an explosive and weapons recovery case.

The judge also ordered the accused to furnish surety bonds of Rs1 million each with the court.

However, the court rejected the bail plea of Muhammad Essa, an accused in the case.

The ATC No 2 Special Judge Asif Majeed Awan awarded bails to the six accused including the housing society owner Kunwar Moeez in the case. The other five accused, who had been granted bails by ATC included Khawaja Asher, Ghulam Yasin, Adeel, Aslam Khan and Fayyaz. The ATC special judge refused to grant bail to Essa, the prime suspect in the case registered with Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) Rawalpindi on application of Pakistan Rangers that raided his house and recovered explosives and weapons.

Earlier, the public prosecutor opposed the bail pleas of the accused. He argued before the court that Rangers and CTD Rawalpindi raided the house of Essa located at Askari 12 and arrested him besides recovering huge cache of arms and ammunitions, hand-grenades and other explosives on May 17, 2017. He added that the law enforcement agencies, later, on the revelations of Essa Khan, made by him during the investigation, carried out raids at residence of Moeez in Islamabad and held him along with illegal weapons.

He added that a raid in his private housing society located near New Islamabad International Airport also resulted in arrest of dozens of proclaimed offenders of MQM London along with weapons. He said all the accused are nominated in terrorism case and their bails should be rejected. Similarly, the law officer of CTD Rawalpindi tabled an application with ATC seeking more time from court for hiring a private lawyer for contesting case against the accused. Nonetheless, the defence lawyers opposed the law officer saying that according to law CTD has no authority to hire any private lawyer to represent it in any court. They said CTD failed in establishing any solid evidence against Moeez and other accused in the case so far despite grilling them for many days.

They prayed to the court to set aside the application. Justice Awan dismissed the application of CTD and laid down the verdict while giving bails to the six accused. The judge also asked the accused to submit surety bonds of Rs1 million each with the court. The bail application of Essa was rejected by the court.

Meanwhile, Station House Officer (SHO) Police Station CTD Rawalpindi Malik Muhammad Khan has been transferred, a source informed. He said that the new SHO has not been appointed in the police station. While talking to The Nation, Khan confirmed that he has been transferred by higher authorities.

It was May 12, 2017 when Pakistan Rangers raided the residence of Moeez in federal capital and arrested him along with his father and brother-in-law and 20 other servants and claimed recovering weapons from there and shifted the detainees to an unidentified location. Later, Rangers also raided Top City housing society near New Islamabad International Airport and again claimed taking some criminals into the custody involved in Karachi bloodshed who have been taking refuge in the Top City premises.

Taking advantage of the situation, unidentified armed men took control of the Top City which was later evacuated on the instructions of government and the interior ministry.

Some five days ago, Pakistan Rangers, in a dramatic way, also claimed to have conducted a raid on the house of Essa and seized huge cache of arms and explosives. In a surprising move, Rangers accused Essa of having links with Moeez and others and had gotten registered a case against them with CTD. The CTD investigators could not prove any allegation against the accused while grilling them for a month and presented them before an ATC for further proceedings. The court gave the accused into the remand of CTD twice and later sent them on judicial remand in Adiala Jail. Justice Awan has given bails to six accused including Moeez. The father-in-law of Moeez, who according to family members was kept in an illegal custody by the law enforcement agencies, has also returned home safely.

On the other hand, the lawyer of the Top City owner has submitted surety bonds with the court and gotten the release orders from Adiala Jail.