Try Godhra accused in normal court: Supreme Court

December 1st, 2008 - 7:50 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 1 (IANS) The Supreme Court Monday transferred the trial of 85 Godhra train carnage accused, absolved of terrorism charges but indicted for normal penal offences by a central review committee under anti-terror law, to a normal sessions court from the special anti-terror court.A bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan ordered the special anti-terror court at Sabarmati in Ahmedabad, set up under now-repealed Prevention of Terrorism Act, to send all the records of cases pertaining to the 85 accused persons to the normal sessions court at Godhra.

The bench, which also included Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice Dalveer Bhandrai, also asked the Godhra sessions court to expeditiously decide on the bail pleas of all the accused persons in view of the fact that they all had been languishing in jail since April 2004.

Facing stringent terror charges under the now-repealed POTA, the bail of all the accused were dismissed by various courts, including the Gujarat high court.

The central review committee, set up under the 2004 law repealing POTA, while examining the veracity of the terror charges against the accused, had recommended dropping of the stringent clauses and that they be tried under provisions of the Indian Penal Code for allegedly setting fire to the S-6 sleeper coach of Sabarmati Express, thereby killing 69 Hindu pilgrims on board.

The apex court ordered transfer of the trial of accused to a normal sessions court on a bunch of petitions by them seeking bail for themselves from the apex court after dropping of the POTA charges against them.

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