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House case

New Delhi, Feb. 3: Delhi High Court today rejected the bail petition of Navjot Sandhu alias Afsan Guru, an accused in the Parliament case, on the ground that Delhi police have filed an appeal for enhancement of her sentence, reports our special correspondent. The trial court had awarded five years imprisonment to Sandhu for not disclosing the conspiracy.

to the authorities.

The appeal also challenges Sandhu’s acquittal for other offences she had been charged with.

“We find that grounds urged on merit could not be taken at this stage as the state has filed appeal against her acquittal for the offences under Pota, Explosive Substances Act and Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 302 (murder), 121 (waging war against country), 307 (attempt to murder) and for enhancement of sentence for the offence of section 123 (not disclosing the conspiracy) of IPC,” Delhi High Court Justices Usha Mehra and Pradeep Nandrajog said.

Sandhu's bail was sought on medical grounds and also to provide a healthy environment for her child born in captivity. The Double Bench directed the Tihar jail authorities to provide her medical facilities and take care of her child.

Sandhu's counsel Nitya Ramakrishnan also sought suspension of sentence for the lone woman convict, since, according to her, there was no evidence against her. The only piece of evidence against Sandhu is the confessional statement of her husband Shaukat Hussain Guru, another convict in the case, under Pota and this too was not admissible, she argued.

The reason for it being not admissible was, Ramakrishnan alleged, that her involvement in the attack was based on the interception of conversation of December 14, 2001, a day after the Parliament attack, between the couple, which was fabricated by the police.

Prosecution said the conduct of Sandhu points towards her active involvement in the conspiracy. The recovery of mobile phones from her, intercepts of communication, taking flat on rent by giving false name clearly indicate that she was aware of the conspiracy, the counsel submitted adding that it was by

her truck Shaukat and Afzal had fled to Srinagar from which Rs 10 lakh and lap top computer was recovered.

The court also admitted an appeal by Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militant Mohammed Afzal, challenging his conviction and death penalty for the December 13 attack. But, refused to accept Afzal's request that he should be allowed to be present at the hearings, saying that his lawyer will plead for him.

The Delhi High Court has accepted the appeal of other convicts, suspended Delhi University lecturer SAR Geelani and JeM terrorist Shaukat Hussain, challenging the sentence handed over to them by the trial court. The Double Bench directed the prosecution to prepare a paperbook, containing the statements of all the convicts in sequence, and submit it in two weeks time.

SAR Geelani's application for providing reading material inside the jail was turned down the Double Bench.

Special Judge SN Dhingra had awarded death penalty to Afzal, Shaukat and Geelani under Pota and section 302 (murder) of IPC for committing terrorist acts resulting in the death of nine persons on December 18.

They were awarded life imprisonment for waging war against India. But prosecution has filed an appeal, saying that the sentence for this offence should be converted into capital punishment.

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