Trio on death row for blast in Delhi

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By PTI AND OUR BUREAU
  • Published 23.04.10
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New Delhi, April 22: A Delhi court today awarded the death penalty to three members of a Kashmir militant outfit for plotting and executing a 1996 bomb blast in a Delhi market that killed 13 persons.

The three were among six members — one of them a woman — of the Jammu Kashmir Islamic Front (JKIF) convicted on April 8. The five men were teenagers at the time of the attack.

Four others were acquitted for lack of evidence by the court, which rapped Delhi police for their “highly defective” probe and callous attitude towards the investigation into the explosions of May 21, 1996, in Lajpat Nagar.

The police had lodged the case under the anti-terror law Tada a day after the terror attack, only to flip and register it under the IPC. The failure to arrest six other accused, including underworld dons Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon, who were declared proclaimed offenders, also found a mention in the judgment.

“Three convicts (Mohammad Naushad, Mohammad Ali Bhatt and Mirza Nissar Hussain) are being awarded the death penalty, which is subject to confirmation by the (Delhi) high court,” district and sessions judge S.P. Garg said.

Of the other three convicted, the court awarded rigorous life imprisonment to Javed Ahmed Khan. But the remaining two, Farooq Ahmed Khan and the woman, Farida Dar, were held guilty under milder provisions and allowed to walk free. The term they served during the trial was their punishment, the judge said.

In Srinagar this evening, the family of one of the three sentenced to death, Nissar Hussain, was stunned. Elder brother, schoolteacher Mirza Zaffar, couldn’t bear to break the news to their ailing mother. “My mother cannot bear the loss. I have told her that my brother has been given a light sentence,” Zaffar said.

The blast, which injured 38 people, had been set off with a stolen Maruti car stuffed with explosives and parked in the Lajpat Nagar market. The accused were arrested from Kashmir soon after the attack on the basis of phone calls they had made to media houses claiming responsibility for the strike.