HC slams police ‘casualness’, acquits 2 in 1996 Delhi blast

High Court

Criticising the Delhi Police for its "slipshod approach" and "casualness" which failed to ensure "minimum standards or proof required of in a criminal trial", the Delhi High Court today acquitted two men, Mirza Nisar Hussain alias Naza and Mohd Ali Bhatt alias Kille, who had been sentenced to death by a trial court in the 1996 Lajpat Nagar bomb blast case.

The bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and G P Mittal also commuted to life imprisonment the death sentence awarded to Mohd Naushad but upheld the life term for Javed Ahmed Khan alias Chhota Javed. All four had appealed against the trial court order.

Police claimed that the four men were members of the Jammu and Kashmir Islamic From (JKIF) and were behind the blast at the crowded Lajpat Nagar market in Delhi that killed 13 people and injured 39 others.

In April 2010, a sessions court convicted the four men. Two others, Farooq Ahmed Khan and a woman named Farida Dar, were held guilty for offences under the Explosive Substances Act and the Arms Ac. They were sentenced to imprisonment for seven years and four years and two months respectively.

Acquitting Mirza Nisar Hussain and Mohd Ali Bhatt, the High Court today took the police to task: "The nature of grave prosecution lapses, in regard to various issues, such as lack of proof connecting some of the accused with the bomb incident, failure to hold TIP of articles and the accused... not recording the statements of vital witnesses...underline not only its lapses and inefficiencies, but also throw up question marks as to the nature and truthfulness of the evidence produced."

"Other aspects such as complete absence of any daily diary entries to corroborate the movement of the police, grave lapses such as inability to collect authenticated copies of reservation chart, record statement of witnesses in its support, and omission to collect details to prove telephone calls, all betray a slipshod approach," the bench said.

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