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Delhi blast accused to face stringent charges: High court

Posted on Dec 03, 07:28PM | IANS

The Delhi High Court Monday directed a trial court to frame charges against Wasim Akram Malik in the 2011 blast near the court under the stringent penal provision of waging war against the government that carries death penalty.

Allowing the National Investigation Agency's (NIA) plea, Justice Sanjeev Khanna and Justice S.P. Garg said: "The dividing line i.e. terrorist act or waging war, in some cases, may be thin but the present case has its own peculiarities like the location where the bomb exploded, animus which has been attributed and the email."

The court asked the trial court to frame charges against Malik under Indian Penal Code's (IPC) Section 121 (waging war against the government of India), Section 121-A (conspiracy to commit war against the government), Section 122 (collecting arms with intention of waging war against the government) and Section 123 (concealing with intent to facilitate design to wage war).

"The facts as alleged and material/evidence relied upon and mentioned above justify framing of charges under the said section," the bench observed.

"The bomb blast was not targeted to injure a particular person but was kept at the reception counter of the Delhi High Court which issues passes that enables litigants and others to enter the main high court building," the court said.

"The object, purpose and animus as propounded and alleged has to be given due weightage and cannot be discounted or rejected at this stage," the bench added.

The court's order came on the NIA plea challenging the trial court's Sep 4 order refusing to frame charges against Malik under the penal provision for waging war against the government that carries a maximum punishment of death.

"We allow the present appeal and set aside para of the impugned order, discharging the respondent (Malik) and holding that there is no ground or material to frame charges under IPC Sections 121, 121-A, 122 and 123," the court said.

"Charges under Sections 121, 121-A, 122 and 123 read with Section 120-B, will be framed by the trial court. The appeal is disposed of accordingly," the judges said.

Rejecting the argument of Malik, the court said: "We do not agree with the counsel for the respondent (Malik) that unless the security forces are specifically targeted, Section 121 is not attracted."

Fifteen people were killed and 79 injured in the Sep 7, 2011, blast outside Gate No.5 of the high court complex.

The NIA in its plea urged the high court to set aside the lower court's order and charge Malik under Sections 121, 121A and 122 of the IPC.

The trial court had dropped against Malik the stringent charges dealing with waging war against the government and conspiracy and collecting arms to wage a war against the country.

The investigating agency said: "The evidence on record shows that the intention of the conspirators including the present respondent (Malik) was to organise terrorist attack on institutions which are symbols of the sovereignty and authority of the government of India."

The NIA said that the terror attack at the high court was plotted with an aim to get the death sentence of 2001 parliament attack convict Afzal Guru commuted to life term.

The trial court framed charges against Malik for offences punishable under IPC Sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 440 (mischief committed after preparation made for causing death or hurt), 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance), 323 (causing hurt) and 325 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt).

The NIA filed a charge sheet against six accused, including Malik.