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Lajpat Nagar blast: 2 Kashmiri convicts on death row acquitted
HC rebukes Delhi Police for showing casual approach in case
NEW DELHI, Nov 22: Slamming police for “serious lapses” in probe of the 1996 Lajpat Nagar bomb blast case, the Delhi high court on Thursday acquitted two alleged Jammu and Kashmir Islamic Front (JKIF) militants, sentenced with capital punishment in the case, and commuted the death penalty of the third terrorist to life imprisonment.

A bench of justices S. Ravindra Bhat and G. P. Mittal converted JKIF terrorist Mohammad Naushad’s death penalty to life term, while acquitting Mirza Nissar Hussain and Mohd Ali Bhat alias Kille, who had been given the capital punishment by the trial court.

The bench, however, upheld the life sentence given to third convict Javed Ahmad Khan alias Chotta Javed.

The court gave its verdict, rebuking the Delhi Police for its failure to adduce even “the minimum standard of proof”. Pulling up the police in its 200-page order, the court said that the Delhi Police "has shown casual approach in the case."

“Police has not maintained minimum standard of probe in the case, test identification parade was not conducted, statement of vital witnesses were not recorded. There was also absence of ‘Delhi Diary’ entry in the case,” the bench said.

A JKIF team had set off a very high intensity blast at Lajpat Nagar market on 21 May 1996, triggering it in explosives kept in a stolen Maruti car in the market.

A city court had in April 2010 convicted six alleged JKIF militants, awarding death sentence to Naushad, Bhatt and Hussain, while their fourth accomplice Khan was sentenced to life imprisonment.

The remaining two convicts, Farooq Ahmed Khan and his woman accomplice Farida Dar, who had been held guilty for offences under the Explosive Substances Act and the Arms Act, were sentenced to imprisonment for seven years, and four years and two months, respectively.

The high court had been hearing the appeals of the four—Naushad, Bhatt, Hussain and Khan—against their conviction and sentencing by the trial court.

The HC verdict came on appeals filed by the four -- Naushad, Ali Bhatt, Mirza Nissar Hussain and Javed Ahmed Khan -- against their conviction and sentencing by the trial court.

The trial court had convicted six suspects. Farooq Ahmed Khan and Farida Dar were held guilty under milder penal provisions and were sentenced to seven years' jail term. However, they were released as they had already spent much more time than that in prison.

Originally, 10 people were arrested and put on trial. Besides these six, the others were Mirza Iftikhar, Latif Ahmed Waza, Syed Maqbool Shah and Abdul Gani.

A very high intensity blast took place at Lajpat Nagar Central market on May 21, 1996, killing 13 people and injuring 39 others.


May 21, 1996: Thirteen people killed in bomb blast at Lajpat Nagar's Central Market.

Thirteen people were killed and 39 others were injured in the blast that took place in south Delhi's Lajapt Nagar on May 21, 1996.

August 26, 1996: Police file chargesheet in a Delhi court against the 10 accused including a woman. Police also give list of 201 witnesses.

November 20, 2000: Court frames charges of murder, attempt to murder, anti-national activities and under the Explosives Act. The accused claim innocence.

September 1, 2009: District judge transfers the case to court of Additional Sessions Judge SP Garg.

September 7, 2009: Hearing begins in ASJ Garg's court.

March 30, 2010: Court defers verdict.

April 8, 2010: Court convicts six accused and acquits four.

April 13, 2010: Court hears arguments on quantum of sentence.

April 22, 2010: Court awards death penalty to Mohd Naushad, Mohd Ali Bhatt and Mirza Nissar Hussain, awards life sentence to Javed Ahmed Khan. One convict gets seven years' imprisonment. Lone woman convict gets jail term of four years and two months.

July 10, 2010: Four convicts file an appeal in Delhi High Court challenging the trial court's conviction order.

October 12, 2011: The High Court reserves order on their appeal.

November 22, 2012: The High Court reduces the sentence of Mohd Naushad from death penalty to life imprisonment, while it acquits Mirza Nissar Hussain and Mohd Ali Bhat. It, however, upholds life sentence of Javed Ahmad Khan.
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News Updated at : Friday, November 23, 2012
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