It sets aside special court’s death penalty award to four

The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday set aside the order of a special court that had, in 2008, awarded death penalty to four persons said to be activists of the banned Deendar Anjum organisation, in a case of blast that took place in a van near Minerva Mills on Magadi Road here on July 10, 2000.

While rejecting the reference made for confirmation of death penalty, a Division Bench comprising Justice D.V. Shylendra Kumar and Justice H.S. Kempanna also acquitted all the 18 accused from the charges of waging war against the State under Section 121 of the Indian Penal Code.

However, the Bench confirmed the order of the special court that convicted accused no 1 Syed Mohammad Ibrahim under Section 5 of the Explosives Substances Act and his imprisonment for 10 years. But the Bench ordered setting off the period that he spent under detention since his arrest in the case on July 14, 2000.

The Bench said that the evidences produced by the prosecution are insufficient to prove the charges levelled against them in this case.

The acquitted are Syed Hasan-uz-Zama, Abdul Rehaman Sait, Zakir, Mohammad Fida-ur-Rehaman Siddique, Amanath Hassan Mulla, Syed Khaloq-uz-Zama, Sheik Hasim Ali, Mohammad Farooq Ali, Sahabjada Syed Zia-ul-Hassan, Mohammad Siddique, Syed Khalid Pasha, Syed Sabihul Hassan, Abdul Habeeb, Shamshuzama, Syed Zahed-ul-Hassan, Sheik Fardeen Valli and Syed Abdul Khadar Jilani.

However, many of these accused are either facing death penalty or life imprisonment among the other accused in the cases related to four explosions at churches in Wadi in Gulbarga district, Keshavapur in Hubli and J.J. Nagar in Bangalore.

The appeal filed by them against the special court’s verdict and the reference of death penalty for confirmation are pending before the High Court.

In the van blast case, it was alleged that after planting explosives at St. Peter and Paul Church at J.J. Nagar, Syed Mohammad Ibrahim and a few others were on their way to another church in a van. While they were assembling the explosives, a blast took place near the Minerva Mills and two of the accused were killed on the spot.

The prime accused in all the blasts that took place at churches in Hyderabad, Karnataka and Goa, Syed Zia-ul-Hassan, remained absconding. According the police, Hassan, chief of the banned Deendar Anjuman, is a resident of Mardhan in the North-Western Frontier Province of Pakistan.

Keywords: van blast case