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Parliament attack convict moves HC

New Delhi, Jan. 15: Delhi High Court today directed the prosecution to file its reply by February 3 while admitting the appeal of the lone woman convict in the Parliament attack case.

In her petition challenging the trial court order, Navjot Sandhu alias Afsan Guru, wife of another convict Shaukat Hussain who is facing a death sentence, alleged “miscarriage of justice” in holding her guilty in the “absence” of any evidence.

Sandhu also pleaded that she deserved leniency for the welfare of their child born while she was in judicial custody.

Two others, suspended Delhi University lecturer S.A.R. Geelani and banned Jaish-e-Mohammad member Mohammad Afzal, are also facing death sentences.

Geelani has also filed an appeal in the high court against the sentence awarded by the trial court, but it could not be taken up today.

In its December 18 order, the trial court had sentenced Sandhu to five years’ rigorous imprisonment and a penalty of Rs 10,000 on charges of not disclosing the conspiracy to attack Parliament to the authorities.

Justice Usha Mehra and Justice Pradeep Nandrajog directed the prosecution to submit its reply by February 3 after Sandhu’s counsel said her client had a fit case of acquittal since there was no evidence against her and that she was not booked under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

“There is not a shred of evidence to show why she should have intended to facilitate such a design (the attack).... And the only reason for concealing, even if assuming it was true, could be protection of her husband,” Sandhu’s petition said.

The petition charged that Delhi police had tampered the evidence, specially the telephonic conversations, on which the trial court had relied on. Any element of knowledge about the conspiracy “has to show a physical manifestation”, it said.

The petition also argued that there were “glaring contradictions” between the mobile telephone testimony and forensic experts’ reports. However, it alleged that a “crucial file relating to the forensic report was tampered”.

“Even the confessional statements of two accused (her husband and Afzal) do not ascribe any facilitation by her in the conspiracy,” the petition said. “After the incident, harbouring or protection to her husband is not a ‘knowing facilitation’ as she had no knowledge about his role,” it added.

When the bench asked whether a reference has been made to the high court by the lower judiciary for confirmation of the conviction and sentence of the accused, Delhi Police counsel Mukta Gupta said: “It is expected to be forwarded to the court in a day or two.”

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