Over 3 years in cold storage, case to come up for hearing in September

Having lain in cold storage for over three years, the Kandahar hijack case will now come up for regular hearing (final disposal) in September. The case was admitted by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in December 2008.

In 2008, a Patiala lower court had awarded Abdul Latif, one of the main accused in the case, life imprisonment holding him guilty of involvement in the hijacking. Aggrieved, CBI had moved the high court demanding death penalty for Latif. In its petition, the CBI stated "Justice demands that courts should impose punishment befitting the crime so that courts reflect public abhorrence of the crime. Latif deserves death as his existence will be a threat to the society".

Latif had also petitioned the high court challenging his life imprisonment. The petitions were admitted by the high court in 2008 and have been hanging fire ever since.

Abdul Latif had also sought bail from the court which came up for resumed hearing on Thursday. The high court held that rather than hearing arguments only on the bail application, it will be prudent to list the entire case for regular hearing.

Aggrieved with "inadequate punishment" awarded by the Patiala court to Latif, CBI had claimed that he confessed before a magistrate saying he frequently hobnobbed with dreaded terrorists Maulana Azhar's brother Abdul Rauf and brother-in-law Yusuf Azhar to make the mission a success.

The case had come to CBI's Patiala court because the hijacked plane had landed at Amritsar airport before it left India's airspace for Lahore. From Lahore, the hijackers took the aircraft to Dubai, finally landing it in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

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