Where is the 1 million rupees of legal aid for Delhi blast accused?

By TCN Special Correspondent,

New Delhi: With financial crunch and trials on head, there is another bad news for the families of the accused in the Delhi serial bomb blast case — the money given by Samajwadi Party to Jamia old Boys Association (JOBA) for legal aid of the accused Jamia Millia Islamia students is no more for them.

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On November 13, 2008, two months after the Delhi serial blasts, then Samajwadi Party General Secretary Amar Singh made an announcement that “the party will give Rs. one million to the Jamia Millia Islamia students who were arrested on the charge of being allegedly involved in Sep 13 blasts in Delhi.” And the party immediately handed over the amount to JOBA.

But one and half years down the line, now JOBA officials are denying the fact that, they received any money for legal aid of these boys. “Yes, we received rupees ten lakh from Samajwadi Party, but that amount wasn’t meant for them rather for the development of the association,” told JOBA President, Javed Alam while talking to TCN.

However, Kamal Akhter, a JOBA member and Rajya Sabha Member from Samajawadi Party, who played leading role in getting this money in JOBA’s hands, contradicts Javed Alam, “The money was first offered to the university. But after they turned it down we donated to the association. They should have offered financial help to the families with it. I will have to take it up with them,” he was quoted as saying in the Hindustan Times on 16th April. TCN also tried to contact Kamal Akhter but he was not available for comments.

But wait, there is another twist in the story. JOBA President, Javed Alam claims, “Though we have not received a single penny for legal aid from Samajwadi Party, however we contributed to the university legal aid committee a sum of Rs. one lakh (25 thousands through check and 75 thousand in cash) towards the legal aid of the boys”. When TCN contacted legal aid committee of Jamia to crosscheck the claim, a senior university official associated with the committee said, “I can’t recall something like that since it has been more than one and half years”. Later, TCN came to know that, JOBA only contributed a sum of Rs. 25 thousand (through check and no cash contribution) and that too on 27th September 2008, about two months before it got the check from Samajwadi Party. It means JOBA did not spend even a single penny out of the Rs one million donation from the party on the legal aid of the Jamia accused.

It can be noted that, all the accused of Delhi bomb blast come from lower middle class and cannot afford the expenses towards lawyers’ fees and other legal costs. In fact, one of the relatives of the accused (Md. Fareed, brother of Md. Shakeel) formally wrote to JOBA on 26th March 2010 seeking financial help but JOBA, it seems, has preferred to spend the amount on ‘welfare’ of old boys.

[Photo by harisharanam.com]