Punjab court reserves verdict in Kandahar hijacking case


Patiala : A special court in Punjab here has reserved its judgement in the high-profile case of the hijacking of Indian Airlines flight IC-814 from Kathmandu to Kandahar in Afghanistan, following the completion of arguments in the case.

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Special Judge Inderjit Singh Walia reserved the orders till the next date of hearing.

The case, which has been continuing here since March 2001, saw over 120 witnesses being examined.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which arrested three conspirators in the hijack case – Abdul Latif, Dalip Kumar and Yusuf Nepali – pursued the case here for almost seven years. They were arrested from Mumbai in December 1999 itself.

The conspirators have been accused of helping the Pakistani hijackers in procuring fake passports and other papers and also helping them take weapons aboard the aircraft that was hijacked later. .

The IC-814 flight, with nearly 180 passengers and crew, was hijacked by five men after the it took off from the Nepalese capital Dec 24, 1999.

The plane was taken towards Pakistan but later landed at Amritsar airport. It then took off again and finally landed at Kandahar city in southern Afghanistan.

The hijackers sought and secured the release from Indian prisons of dreaded terrorists, including Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) chief Maulana Azhar Masood.

One passenger was killed in the hijacking while others were released after a seven-day ordeal at Kandahar.

The then Indian external affairs minister Jaswant Singh flew with the terrorists to be released at Kandahar to secure the release of the passengers on board IC-814.