The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court has granted bail to cleric Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui who was arrested in September 2021 on charges of running a mass religious conversion racket and converting over 100 people in Uttar Pradesh.
The order was passed by a double bench of Justices Attaur Rahman Masoodi and Saroj Yadav.
The state anti-terrorist squad (ATS) had arrested Siddiqui from Meerut and claimed that he ran the biggest conversion syndicate across the country and donations through ‘hawala’ in a trust operated by him, were also stated to have been recovered.
The ATS had arrested 16 persons across the state from June to September 2021.
A state government lawyer said the bail was granted on the grounds of parity since one of the co-accused in the case Irfan Sheikh was recently granted bail by the Supreme Court.
“Initially in March 2022, Sheikh’s bail was rejected by the high court and he decided to move the Supreme Court. Sheikh was arrested for masterminding the alleged conversion gang,” said the lawyer.
Irfan, a native of Maharashtra and working as a sign language interpreter, had applied for bail at a special court ADJ III (ATS/ NIA) which was rejected on October 21, 2021.
Irfan’s counsel later moved high court which too cancelled the bail plea.
(The story has been published via a syndicated feed with a modified headline.)