Blast accused Salman a minor, approves a Jaipur Court

By TCN Special Correspondent,

New Delhi: In yet another major setback for the Delhi police special cell and the Rajasthan Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), a Sessions Court at Jaipur has set aside an order of a lower court holding an accused, Mohammed Salman, in the May 2008 Jaipur serial blasts case to be a major.

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While referring Salman’s case to the Juvenile Justice Board, the Sessions Court also rejected the lower court order in which it had refused to refer his case for adjudication to the Juvenile Justice Board. Now Salman’s case will be heard under Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Act, 2000.

Salman Ahmad being taken into custody in the visuals of IBN Live

Salman was brought taken into custody by the Rajasthan Anti Terror Squad (ATS), after a Delhi court discharged him in February this year of his alleged involvement into September 2008 Delhi serial blasts case. The Rajasthan ATS had made him an accused in May 2008 serial Jaipur blasts case.

Advocate Paiker Farooq, the counsel of the accused producing documentary evidence before the court argued, “It is a settled law that the [date of] birth is decided on the basis of educational records”. The Sessions Court has allowed Salman’s appeal against the order on Tuesday.

The accused’s counsel have moved an application on Wednesday in the Special Court, presided over by R.C. Ramdhari, in accordance with the Sessions Judge’s order and it is listed for arguments this Thursday. Advocate Farooq told media persons that, “the ATS was well aware of the fact of Salman being a minor; it was trying to mislead the court”.

Salman was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terror Squad on 6th March 2010 claiming his involvement in various bomb blasts. The police claimed that, Salman on the directions of Atif Ameen ( alleged IM mastermind killed in the ‘encounter’ at Batla House) planted bombs in Varanasi’s Court room on November 23rd, 2007, in Gorakhpur on May 22nd, 2007, in Jaipur on May 13th, 2008, in Ahmedabad on July 26th, 2008 and in Delhi on September 13th, 2008.

Salman Ahmad’s high school mark sheet

What brought a radical turn in the case was that within a week of Salman’s arrest, family members and civil rights’ groups produced the high school mark-sheet [a copy of which is available with] of Salman. Substantiating with the mark sheet, they claimed that he was born on October 3, 1992, conclusively establishing that he was a minor. This means that Salman was just 16 at the time when he is alleged to have been planted bombs.

In February this year, Salman was acquitted by a Delhi court at a very preliminary stage, much before the beginning of the trial, because the prosecution failed to produce any evidences to substantiate its claim that Salman Ahmad was an IM operative, one of the main charges of the prosecution. The judge while discharging also said that in the absence of any evidence, there was no point in proceeding further in this case.

Various Civil Rights ‘groups has welcomed the verdict and saying it is vindication of theirs claims. Dr. Manisha Sethi, president, Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association (JTSA) while talking to, said, “The court has approved what we’re saying since the arrest. The verdict further raises serious questions about the ATS and Special Cells are trying to implicate innocent boys rather than caching the real culprits.

Shahnawaz Alam, Secretary of PUCL, Uttar Pradesh has also welcomed the verdict and reiterated the need of a high level judicial enquiry in to the matter terrorist activities in last ten years.

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Prosecution failed to prove Salman IM operative: Counsel

Arrested Azamgarh youth Salman is a minor