KARACHI: A sessions court has granted interim pre-arrest bail to former SSP-South Imran Qureshi in a case pertaining to a robbery during a raid on the house of a trader in Orangi Town.

SSP Qureshi filed a pre-arrest bail application before Additional District and Sessions Judge Aurangzeb Shah through his counsel, after Judicial Magistrate (west) Muhammad Bilal issued an arrest warrant for him.

The counsel for the applicant argued that his client had not been named in the FIR and that the investigation officer (IO) did not attribute any role to him in the charge sheet.

Furthermore, the counsel contended that the order issued by the judicial magistrate on Tuesday was “unjust, biased, prejudiced, illegal, and unlawful” against SSP Qureshi.

He also mentioned that the other co-accused persons had already obtained bail in the same offence, therefore, his client was also entitled to the same concession under the rule of consistency.

After hearing arguments, the court granted interim pre-arrest bail until Feb 26 to SSP Qureshi, without touching on the merit of the case, against a surety bond of Rs100,000.

In its order, judicial magistrate (west) quashed the IO’s request to dispose of the case by downgrading it in ‘C Class’ in the final charge sheet.

The IO deemed the raid was ‘legal’; however, the team had not followed SOPs, making it a ‘case of mistaken fact’.

“I am surprised by such opinion formed by an IO DSP rank,” the judge observed.

The judge also mentioned that SSP Qureshi was aware of alleged raid and facilitated the handing over of belongings of the complainant without following the procedure. He also pointed that the district public prosecutor and defence counsel of DSP Umair Tariq Bajari did not present any argument before the court regarding the report under Section 173 of the criminal procedure code.

Additionally, the judge directed the IG-Sindh to initiate an inquiry against the Defence SHO who was posted at the police station when the incident occurred.

Published in Dawn, February 17th, 2024

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