Verdict on Red Fort shootout case reserved


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New Delhi : The Delhi High Court Friday reserved its verdict on the December 2000 shootout at the Red Fort in which three people, including two army personnel, were killed in a terror attack by Lashkar-e-Taiba.

After the submission of the prosecution, a division bench headed by Justice R.S. Sodhi reserved its order after hearing arguments for the past several months saying "the verdict would be pronounced later".

The subordinate court had awarded capital punishment to Lashkar-e-Taiba militant Mohammed Arif alias Mohammed Ashfaq for waging war against the state and murder.

A fine of Rs.435,000 was also slapped on him.

Ashfaq's Indian wife Rehmana was also convicted for conspiracy.

The court awarded life imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs.100,000 each on two other accused who are from Jammu and Kashmir – Nazir Ahmed Qasid and his son Farooq Ahmed Qasid. They were also found guilty of waging war against the state and criminal conspiracy.

Two other accused – Babar Mohsin Baghwala and Matloob Alam – were sentenced to seven years rigorous imprisonment for their complicity in the attack.

It was Baghwala, a resident of Srinagar, who drove Ashfaq around the capital and showed him the key government and military installations. He has been found guilty of harbouring Ashfaq and trying to protect him.

One civilian and two soldiers of the Rajputana Rifles were killed in the attack on Dec 22, 2000.

During the proceedings, the Delhi Police argued that the Red Fort shootout was a plot of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

"The terrorists had carefully selected the army camp inside the fort, a place of national importance and prestige. They deliberately selected it as it would cause widespread indignation and fear in the country," the judge had said.

The LeT militants sneaked into the 17th century monument at around 2100 hours on Dec 22, 2000, and fired indiscriminately on the guards of the 7th Battalion of the Rajputana Rifles stationed there killing jawans Abdullah Thakur and Uma Shankar and a civilian Ashok Kumar.