'96 Lajpat Nagar blast case: Delhi HC acquits 2 from death penalty
Delhi High Court today acquitted two persons who were earlier awarded death sentence by the trial court in the 1996 Lajpat Nagar bomb blast case and reduced the death penalty of a third to life imprisonment.
The court also slammed the city police for its shoddy investigation in the 16-year-old case in which 38 people were injured in a powerful bomb explosion in Lajpat Nagar market.
A bench comprising Justices Ravinder Bhatt and G P Mittal slammed the Delhi police for their shoddy investigation and converted Mohd. Naushad's death penalty to life term, acquitted Mirza Nissar Hussain and Mohd Ali Bhat, and upheld the life sentence given to Javed Ahmed Khan.
Almost sixteen years ago, a powerful bomb kept in a stolen Maruti car had exploded on May 1996 injuring 38 people.
A city court had in April 2010 convicted six alleged militants of the Jammu and Kashmir Islamic Front (JKIF).
Three of them - Mohd Naushad, Mohd Ali Bhatt and Mirza Nissar Hussain - got death sentences while the fourth, Javed Ahmed Khan, was punished with life imprisonment.
The court converted Naushad's death penalty to life term, acquitted Hussain and Bhat, and upheld the life sentence given to Khan.
The court upbraided the police for not maintaining the minimum standards of investigation and showing a casual approach in the case.
Neither the Test Identification Parade (TIP) of the convicts was conducted nor statements of the key witnesses were recorded, the HC bench said.
The court upheld the sentence awarded to other two convicts in the case, Farooq Ahmed Khan and his accomplice Farida Dar, who were held guilty by the trial court under the Explosive Substances Act and Arms Act. They were sentenced to imprisonment for seven years and four years and two months respectively.