SC acquits Pak scientist Mohammed Khalil Chishti of murder charge

Khalil Chisti

Pakistani microbiologist Mohammed Khalil Chishti was today acquitted by the Supreme Court of the murder charge in a 20-year-old criminal case and was allowed to return to his native country without any restriction.

However, the apex court declined to interfere with his conviction for voluntarily causing hurt under section 324 of the Indian Penal Code and served him with the sentence already undergone by him in prison.

A Bench of Justices P Sathasivam and Ranjan Gogoi noted that 82-year-old Chishti was in the jail for almost one year during his stay in the country and "ends of justice will be met by serving him with the period of imprisonment already undergone".

While clearing him of the murder charge, the bench said there was no scope for applying section 34 of the IPC which deals with the offence of common intention.

The bench directed the authorities to return to Chishti all documents including his passport and said he was free to return to Pakistan without any restriction.

The Bench, which considered the age and qualification of Chishti, directed the authorities to take all possible steps for his "smooth return" to his native country.

The Bench also referred to its May 10 order and said since no further proceeding is required against him, the surety of Rs 5 lakh be released to him or his nominee.

On May 10, the apex court had asked Chishti to deposit his passport and furnish as security Rs five lakh in cash

within two weeks before the Supreme Court registry.

The other two accused in the case were also held guilty only under section 324 of IPC and were directed to be released forthwith.

The apex court said it was left with "no reliable evidence" in the case as the prosecution had come out with two sets of version of the crime and two sets of evidence which were contradictory.

... contd.

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