A Pakistani national, who was on death row since 2006 until the Supreme Court set aside his conviction and ordered his retrial in August, 2012, was acquitted by a sessions court here on Friday. The court noted “substantial lapses” in the Delhi police investigation into the 1997 blast in a Blueline bus near Punjabi Bagh in West Delhi killing four persons and injuring 24.

Additional Sessions Judge Pawan Kumar Jain commenced the retrial of Mohammed Hussain, alias Julfikar Ali, on November 8, 2012 after the Supreme Court order of August 31, 2012 and reserved the case for judgment on December 22, 2012. Mr. Jain also ordered Hussain’s deportation to Pakistan if he was not required in India for involvement in any other case.

Among the lapses, he found that the Delhi Police did not prepare a site plan, did not consider taking photographs of the inner portion of the bus, exhibits lifted from the spot were not sealed and no effort was made to prepare the sketch of the suspect.

“The prosecution has failed to bring home the guilt of the accused beyond the shadow of reasonable doubt,” the judge said.

In November 2004, a trial court sentenced him to death, while acquitting three others for want of evidence. The trial court order was confirmed by the Delhi High Court in August, 2006.

In January, 2012 a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court delivered a split verdict. One judge ordered Hussain’s retrial as he was not provided counsel to defend himself, while the other judge termed the trial “illegal” and ordered that he be set free and deported. The matter went to a three-judge bench, which on August 31, 2012 ordered re-trial.

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