The Karnataka High Court has refused the bail plea filed by the Bengaluru techie who allegedly encouraged people on social media to spread the novel coronavirus. Muzeeb Mohammed, the 38-year-old software engineer working in Infosys was arrested after his Facebook post urged people to spread the contagion by sneezing in public.
Techie denied bail
In its observations the bench of Justice KS Mudagal said the petitioner was influenced "by some elements preaching religious fanaticism and anti-national ideas." It also added that "sovereignty, fraternity, and integrity of India takes precedence over Article 21 — the fundamental right of liberty".
The Justice also observed that Muzeeb, albeit being well educated and employed, uploaded messages which are likely to cause disharmony and panic. These messages are hostile to humanity at a time when the world is facing such a crisis, he added.
Muzeeb was booked under sections 153A, 505, 270 and 109 of IPC has been sent to judicial custody now. The charges carry a jail term of three years.
As per the reports, Muzeeb has six bank accounts and had stayed in Bahrain and Kuwait for some years. He was influenced by religious fanatics and anti-national ideas and had even shared a Pakistan WhatsApp number to someone over information about Islam. The National Investigation Agency has, therefore, started an investigation on probing his links.
Applying for his bail, Muzeeb's lawyer cited the recommendation of a high-powered committee, constituted to decongest jails in view of the Covid pandemic, that undertrials be released if the charges against them carry a jail term of up to 7 years. However, the court also rejected the argument in view of the police prosecutor's claims about the accused's suspected terrorist links.
In addition to this, his counsel also submitted the maximum punishment under 153 A of IPC (causing enmity) would be three years. He also stated the petitioner would abide by the conditions imposed by the court.