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High Court reduces Lajpat Nagar blast verdict

Posted on Nov 23, 09:48AM | IBNS

The Delhi High Court on Thursday let off two convicts sentenced to death in the 1996 Lajpat Nagar bomb attack and reduced the death penalty of the third to life imprisonment.

The court said its verdict was forced by the Delhi Police's shoddy investigation into the strike that had killed 13 people and injured 38.

The powerful explosion in Delhi's popular and crowded Lajpat Nagar Market on May 21, 1996 was triggered by explosives hidden in a stolen Maruti car.

Six alleged militants of the Jammu and Kashmir Islamic Front (JKIF) were convicted in April 2010 by a court in the case.

While Mohd Naushad, Mohd Ali Bhatt and Mirza Nissar Hussain got death sentences, the fourth accused, Javed Ahmed Khan, was punished with life imprisonment.

Slamming the probe, the High Court on Thursday reduced Naushad's sentence to a life term, acquitted Hussain and Bhat, and upheld the life sentence given to Khan.

"The police has not maintained a minimum standard of probe," the bench said, adding that the police had showed a "casual approach in the case".