Monday, October 6, 2014

Delhi HC dismisses the "terror" case, orders release of two accused after 6 year in jail

Written by Aneesha Mathur | New Delhi |October 7, 2014
Dismissing the evidence given by expert witnesses after they failed to give answers to vital questions, the Delhi High Court has set aside the conviction and life term awarded to two men alleged to be members of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami (HuJI). The two have already spent over six years in jail.
Jammu and Kashmir resident Mohammad Ameen Wani and Bangladeshi national Luthfur Rehman had been arrested by the Delhi Police Special Cell in 2007. They were charged with conspiracy to wage war against the country and offences under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
The two had been found guilty by a trial court in 2010 and sentenced to life imprisonment. The prosecution had alleged that the explosive material — PETN (Pentaerythritol tetranitrate) — detonators, batteries and cash had been recovered from the duo.
The High Court also found that the sample sent to forensics for testing did not match the description of the explosives in the FIR and case diaries of police.
The two accused, in their plea, had said that the evidence against them had been planted by the special cell and police had deliberately destroyed the material by setting fire to the evidence locker.
During the hearing, the court of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice G P Mittal examined several special cell officers and forensics experts with regard to the alleged fire in the police station maalkhana and the discrepancy between the sample sent for examination and its description in the case diaries.
The court also noted that the prosecution had been unable to explain how the fire had occurred. It also said the accused were not informed about the inquiry into the fire, which affected the evidence against them.
“The appellants had the right to know what happened to the case property and why it was not produced in court…,” it said.
It further said that the lapse in informing the accused “hampered the ends of justice and overlooked the principles of a fair trial”.
The court also observed that the investigation into the cause of the fire did not answer basic questions.
“Why was there no explosion, how was the fire confined and controlled, why did the smell of the strong acid remained palpable despite the fire? These are some questions which remain unanswered,” the court said.
The court further observed that police had failed to show any evidence that the two were involved with the banned organisation.
“As per the prosecution’s case, there was no actual commission of any act of terrorism or physical violence. Also, there are no public witnesses to the alleged recovery of explosives,” the court said.
The court has directed police to release Rehman as he has already served over six years, and that he had completed the sentence imposed under the Foreigners Act for overstaying his visa. Wani, who is accused in a different case, is still in custody.

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GRP red-faced after claiming to nab ‘terrorist’
AGRA: Kashiram Nagar or Kasganj as it is more popularly known, witnessed a buzz when the Government Railway Police (GRP) claimed that a man suspected of being a terrorist had been nabbed. During routine checks on Sunday, a man who GRP men claimed was deaf and dumb was arrested after being found in possession of architectural drawings and an expensive mini-computer. Later, however, the GRP realised that the man was a petty thief, no terrorist at all. What is more, he could both speak and hear. 

A senior official of the district administration said the GRP had released wrong information to the media, claiming that it had nabbed a man suspecting of plotting terrorism strikes. In railway police records, the man was mentioned as a terrorist. Later, however, the charge of plotting terrorist strikes was dropped, and the middle-aged man was sent to jail on charges of theft. 

Routine checks ahead of Bakr Eid festivities made GRP men suspicious, reports said, as a man on platform 2 of the Kasganj Railway Station on Sunday afternoon, dressed shabbily and appearing quite poor, was found in possession of an expensive mini-computer. GRP men also recovered eight ATM cards of various national and international banks from the man. 

"We received three pen-drives, a costly tablet, branded clothes and maps of various countries including Japan and China in his luggage. Religious CDs were also recovered, along with the architectural designs of some buildings," Inspector Virendra Singh of GSP, Kasganj, said, adding that the man also had a two-month-old sleeper class train ticket from Amritsar to West Bengal. He had four SIM cards, all of them deactivated. 

Policemen tried to contact people listed on his cell phone list, but have not be able yet to establish his identity. The man broke into tears and made a sorry sight of himself. Policemen discovered he was not disabled, after all, and could both speak and hear. He was, however, unable to reveal much about where he came from or where he intended to travel. 

The GRP had informed the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of Lucknow of their "unique find". The ATS arrived in Kasganj for investigations, but found that the man was most likely a petty thief, with nothing to implicate him in plotting terrorism strikes. There was nothing to implicate him in terrorism. 

The man was produced in a special court on Monday and sent to Etah jail after being charged with theft.

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