Katju appeals for release of Mumbai blasts convict

Kashmir Times. Dated: 3/9/2015 2:24:38 PM

MUMBAI, Mar 8 (Agencies): Terming the evidence against the 1993 Bombay bomb blasts convict Zaibunnisa Kazi as ‘weak’, former judge of the Supreme Court, Markandey Katju recently posted a blog calling upon the civil liberty organisations across the world to appeal to the Indian government for the release of Ms. Kazi.
In 2013, Ms. Kazi was convicted along with Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt for hoarding illegal weapons and sentenced to five years in jail. While Kazi was convicted under the anti-terror law TADA, Dutt was held guilty under the much lenient Arms Acts.
According to Justice Katju the 72-year-old was convicted on weak evidence and if not released she might die in jail because of her ailing condition.
“The only evidence against her was that of a retracted confession of a co-accused. She is an old woman of 72 years who is ailing. She had a kidney operation and has other ailments. She has to be medically examined frequently. I fear that unless she is released soon she may die in jail," wrote Mr.Katju,
In a curative petition filed by Mr. Shanti Bhushan, Senior advocate of Supreme Court of India, the same grounds were raised; however the apex court had dismissed the said petition.
"I was a lawyer for 20 years and a Judge for 20 years, retiring from the Indian Supreme Court in September 2011. I carefully scrutinized the evidence against her as well as the judgment, and came to the conclusion that her conviction was wrong,” Mr. Katju added.
Mr Katju further stated that he has been getting emails from Kazi’s daughter Shagufta regularly which has prompted him to bring the issue to notice again.
Mr.Katju states that he would be writing again to President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra.
This is not the first time that Mr. Katju has pleaded for the release of Ms. Kazi .In May , 2013, Justice Katju had sent a written appeal to the President of India seeking pardon for both Dutt and Kazi.
“ I am grateful to Justice Katju for taking up the issue. I hope the contentions raised by him are heard and my mother gets the necessary relief. We are really worried about her health,” Shagufta told The Hindu.
“ My mother suffers from numerous medical complications and she requires medical attention,” she further adds.



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