By Mumtaz Alam Falahi, TwoCircles.net,
New Delhi: Nine terror accused including those arrested in Delhi serial blasts and Batla
House encounter cases have approached the Supreme Court begging for clubbing of their cases and trial in one city like Delhi because the slow pace and huge number of cases filed against them in different states will outlast their lives. The Supreme Court will hear the petition on February 22.
More than 18 months have passed since they were arrested, in most of the cases the charge-sheets are yet to be filed. Almost each accused is carrying 30-50 cases as he has been named in all major blasts in the country: Jaipur, Ahmedabad, and Delhi serial blasts.
“What to say about speedy trial of petitioners- accused persons, though a period of about more than 18 months has passed, in most of the cases the charge sheets are yet to be filed. At present petitioners are confined in Central Jail Sabarmati (Gujarat). They are to be tired at various places like Bangalore (Karnataka), Surat and Ahmedabad (Gujarat), Jaipur (Rajasthan), Mumbai (Maharashtra) and Delhi as the investigating agencies of different States made them soft targets and involved them in all serial bomb blast cases to avoid serious and meaningful investigation and apprehending real culprits. If petitioners are to be tried in several cases at different places, it may not possible for the prosecuting agencies of different States to complete various trials during the lifetime of petitioners,” says the petition.
The petitioners were arrested in the year 2008 for allegedly causing serial bomb blasts in various states including Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh), Surat and Ahmedabad (Gujarat), Jaipur (Rajasthan), Mumbai (Maharashtra) and Delhi as well as Batla House encounter case.
Advocate M S Khan has filed the petition on behalf of Zia-Ur-Rehman, Mohd. Shakeel, Mohd. Saif, Zeeshan Ahmed, Saqib Nisar (all five are from Azamgarh arrested after Batla House encounter in connection with Delhi serial blasts), Mohd. Mansoor Asgar Peerbhoy, Mubin Kadar Shaikh, Asif Bashirudding Shaikh, Mohd. Akbar Ismail Chaudhary.
The central government and several state governments have enacted laws to tackle terrorism, and under these laws several thousand people have been rounded up as terror suspects and put behind bars, but the governments have not created infrastructure for speedy trial of these accused.
Adv Khan says in the petition: “Though the Parliament and the different State Legislatures of the country enacted several laws from time to time to meet out new challenges posed by international terrorism, and under the provisions of these Acts several thousand persons have been apprehended by branding them terrorists and militants, who are languishing in different jails in the country, waiting for their trials. However, Government of India and different States have failed to provide infrastructure and other logistic supports involving new scientific technologies as are adopted by other countries for the speedy trials and prosecution of these militants and terrorists apprehended under these Acts.”
Along with the petitioners, about 150 other accused persons have also been implicated in various bomb blast cases in different States. They are also to be tried along with petitioners. So the counsel has urged the court to club cases of all these accused and order their trial in Delhi because this will be in the interest of justice.
“In these circumstances, it would be in the interest of justice that all the cases pending in different States in which petitioners and other accused persons are to be tried, may be clubbed together and may be tried at one place like Delhi, which is centrally located and having all facilities for the trial of such serious cases,” the petition says invoking petitioners’ right of speedy trial as enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, as there is no possibility that trial of petitioners in all cases would be concluded in near future and petitioners will remain behind bars, throughout their life, without trials.
Adv Khan gives reason: “Separate trials of about 150 accused persons at different places throughout the country may involve various difficulties for the prosecuting agencies also like security of witnesses, security of accused persons, number of Judges and Court rooms and production of accused persons and witnesses in one or other courts, situated in different States at long distances.” Moreover, till date voluminous charge sheets have been filed in Ahmedabad, Surat and Delhi cases. The cases in Gujarat have been committed to the Court of Sessions. In other cases even charge sheets are yet to be filed. The accused are yet to be produced in other cases in different States.
Talking to TwoCircles.net, Adv Khan says: Trials have not yet started in most of the cases. Each accused is facing cases in about half a dozen states. Besides, in Gujarat, charge sheets have been filed in Gujarati language. Given these facts, and slow pace of the court proceedings it will be impossible for the accused to face all trials and see the judgment in their lifetime. That’s why we are demanding that either all cases are clubbed or they are tried in one city like Delhi.
Sequence of events
13.5.2008 Serial bomb Blasts occurred in Jaipur (Rajasthan) and 8 FIRs were registered at different police station in this respect.
26.7.2008 Blasts in Ahmedabad (Gujarat) occurred and 20 FIRS were registered and few live bombs were recovered and diffused in Surat and 15 FIRs were registered.
13.9.2008 Bomb blast occurred in Delhi and few live bomb recovered and defused and 5 FIRs were registered.
19.9.2008 A police encounter took place at L-18 Batla House, Okhla, New Delhi in which two persons were killed and one namely Mohd. Saif was apprehended.
21.9.2008 Three other accused\petitioners namely Zia-ur-Rehman, Mohd. Shakeel and Saqib Nisar were apprehended and arrested in cases of Delhi Blasts.
23.9.2008 A Case FIR No. 152\08 was registered in Mumbai at Police Station DCB, CID.
28.9.2008 Petitioners namely Mohd. Mansoor Asghar Peerbhoy, Asif Bashiruddin Shaikh and Mubin Kadar Shaik were arrested by Mumbai police.
5.10.2008 Petitioner Mohd. Akbar Ismail Chaudhary was arrested by Mumbai Police.
31.12.2008 The Parliament enacted “The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act 2008.
31.12.2008 The National Investigation Agency Act 2008 was enacted by the Parliament.
02.01.2009 Petitioner Mohd. Hakim was apprehended by ATS, Uttar Pradesh.
3.1.2009 Mohd. Hakin above was arrested by Delhi Police by the order of CJM, Lucknow, UP.