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Pakistan moves Gujarat High Court for custody of its citizen, court seeks reply from govt

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The Gujarat government on Thursday informed the Gujarat High Court that it will challenge the acquittal of a Pakistani national in a fake currency case before the Supreme Court. The submission came in response to a petition filed by the Pakistan High Commission seeking the custody of its citizen, who could not leave India despite acquittal in the fake currency case.

However, the division bench hearing the case has questioned the state government to explain as to why it took one year for the authorities to decide to challenge the Pakistani citizen’s acquittal. The bench has sought a detailed explanation in this regard.

The Gujarat High Court has also sought a response from the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO), Mumbai, on why exit visa was not issued to the Pakistani national after his acquittal.

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As per the case details, a Karachi resident Sajjad Vora, 28, had come to Surat to meet his relatives in 2016. He was found in possession of fake Indian currency at Surat railway station while the family was on its way to Mumbai. Sajjad Vora was arrested. He was acquitted by the trial court in in 2018. The Gujarat government approached the high court against the appeal, which upheld the acquittal.

The Pakistani national approached the Mumbai FRRO for exit visa as his visa had expired in 2017. The FRRO insisted upon a NOC from the Surat railway police, which Sajjad Vora could not secure, and as a result, FRRO did not issue him exit visa. Thereafter, he approached the high court last month seeking directions to concerned authorities to provide him permission to return to Pakistan.

In the meantime, the issue came to the notice of the Pakistan government and the Pakistan High Commission. The Pakistan High Commission approached the Gujarat High Court seeking custody of its national and contended that he has been illegally detained in India. The commission has also south a compensation of Rs 20 lakh for Sajjad Vora from the Indian authorities.

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The counsels for the commission contended before Gujarat High Court that the habeas corpus petition filed by the Pakistan High Commission is maintainable.

Also, Sajjad Vora approached the court to become a party in the plea filed by the Pakistan High Commission, which was allowed by the court.

The next hearing of the matter is scheduled on July 21.

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