2008 Delhi serial blast: 11 accused fail to appear in court (Lead)

February 21st, 2011 - 10:50 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 21 (IANS) Eleven accused in the 2008 Delhi serial blasts, lodged in a Gujarat jail, Monday failed to appear before a Delhi court which pulled up authorities in that state and fixed March 8 to frame murder charges against all the 13 accused.Two accused, who are lodged in a Delhi jail, appeared before the court. All accused are suspected to be members of Indian Mujahideen terror outfit.

Additional Sessions Judge Santosh Snehi Mann directed the superintendent of Sabarmati Jail in Ahmedabad to explain about the non-compliance of the court’s order for presenting the 11 accused before her.

The court pulled up Ahmedabad police chief for his intervention which, in the matter, was beyond his authority.

“I fail to understand under what authority and in what role had the commissioner of police intervened in the law.”

The court was told by counsel for some of the accused lodged in Gujarat jail that the state government’ home department invoked legal provisions against them in October 2007, restricting their movement.

Four blasts at Connaught Place, Karol Bagh and Greater Kailash shook Delhi Sep 13, 2008 within a span of 31 minutes, killing 26 people and injuring 135 others.

Among the 13 accused, five were arrested by Delhi Police following a shootout at Batla House near Jamia Nagar in south Delhi Sep 19, 2008.

The court earlier said: “Prima facie offences punishable under sections 121A/121 (waging war against the nation), 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 427 (mischief causing damage) read with 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC (Indian Penal Code) and relevant sections of the Explosive Substances Act, the Information Technology Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act are made out against the 13 accused.”

Defence lawyer M.S. Khan, appearing for nine of the 11 accused lodged in Ahmedabad jail, said: “Section 268 (2) of CrPC (Criminal Procedure Code invoked by the Gujarat government) excludes the Delhi blast accused from being produced before Delhi court.”

“Nine suspected members of terror outfit IM, including techie Mohammed Mansoor Asgar Peerbhoy who allegedly headed the group’s media wing, have already approached the Supreme Court in 2010, urging it to club and transfer their cases to Delhi for a quick trial,” he said.

The petition, filed through Khan, said the accused, currently lodged in Sabarmati jail, have already spent around 30 months in custody which has dented their right to speedy trial.

Therefore, they have also challenged the Gujarat government’s order invoking Section 268 (2) of CrPC against them, said the petition.

“The apex court will take up the petition on Feb 23,” said Kahn.

The petition has been jointly filed by Zia-Ur-Rehman, Mohammed Shakeel, Mohammed Saif, Zeeshan Ahmed, Saqib Nisar, Mohammed Mansoor Asgar Peerbhoy, Mubin Kadar Shaikh, Asif Bashirudding Shaikh and Mohammed Akbar Ismail Chaudhary.

Their names appear in 52 police complaints lodged across Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra for alleged involvement in terror strikes.

The trial court earlier decided to frame charges against the 13 Delhi serial blasts accused Monday. But only two accused Shahzad and Hakim, lodged in Tihar Jail here, appeared in court, forcing the court to put off the framing of charges.

The court noted that police in the capital received a letter from commissioner of police, Ahmedabad, requesting armed escorts from Delhi Police to procure the custody of accused presently lodged in Sabarmati Jail.

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