New Delhi, March 5: A Delhi court today framed charges against nine persons, including six Pakistanis, for allegedly conspiring to kidnap Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar and eliminate President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
Charges have been framed under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, the Indian Penal Code and the Arms Act for carrying out terrorist activities and waging war against the nation.
Of the 11 accused in the case, nine Harkat-ul-Jehad-e-Islami members will be facing trial. They are: Arshad Khan, Gulam Mohammed Dar, Gulam Mohammed Bhatt, Tariq Mehmood, Ashahaq Ahmad, Mohammed Amran, Mohammed Ashraf, Abdul Majid and Mufti Mohammed Asrar.
Charges have not been framed against Aftab Ansari, who was deported from Dubai in February 2001, as he is facing trial in the American Center attack in Calcutta. Mohammed Jallaluddin has been declared a proclaimed offender after he escaped from police custody while being taken to Gujarat in another criminal case.
Special judge S.N. Dhingra said a separate trial will be conducted for Ansari as “the trial of the accused in custody will get delayed if they wait for Aftab Ansari”.
The court has fixed April 10 for recording evidence since all nine accused did not plead guilty. Section 120(B) of the IPC was slapped against the accused for criminal conspiracy with directions from Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba chief Azam Cheema and Harkat-ul Jehad’s India in-charge Mufti Kifayatullah.
According to the Delhi police chargesheet, the conspiracy was hatched to secure the release of militants Nasrullah Langrial, Abdul Rahim and Mohammed Amir Khan alias Mohammed Kamran, who are lodged in different jails.
“They also tried to assassinate Dr A.P.J Abdul Kalam when he visited Patna, Bihar, but their plan could not materialise due to lack of logistic support,” the chargesheet said. They had plans to bomb Bhabha Atomic Research Centre at Trombay as well.
The court framed sedition charges against the accused and booked them under the anti-terror law for being members of Aftab Ansari’s gang.
Accused Abdul Majid has been charged with channelling hawala money into India and for buying land with proceeds of terrorism. Ghulam Mohammed Dar and Ghulam Qadar Bhat have been charged with receiving hawala money.
The six Pakistanis have also been charged under the Foreigners’ Act for entering India without valid documents.
Investigations had revealed that the militants were sent to India by Omar Sheikh, sentenced to death for the kidnap and murder of Wall Street journalist Daniel Pearl in Pakistan.