We too are victims, say twin blast convicts

Bomb squad personnel on a regular visit to Gokul Chat, which, along with Lumbini Park, was attacked by terrorists in 2007, killing 44 and leaving 68 injured.

Bomb squad personnel on a regular visit to Gokul Chat, which, along with Lumbini Park, was attacked by terrorists in 2007, killing 44 and leaving 68 injured.   | Photo Credit: K.V.S. GIRI

Judge rejects contention, describes case as gravest of extreme culpability

The Special Public Prosecutor for the 2007 bomb blasts at Lumbini Park and Gokul Chat Bhandar that killed 44 persons and left 68 injured told the Special Court that it was the ‘rarest of rare’ cases.

However, the two convicts, Sayeed anAnik Shafique d Mohammed Akbar Ismail Chowdhari, who were awarded death sentence, informed the court that they were also “victims” of the blasts and had been falsely implicated.

When the quantum of punishment was announced, the convicted duo told the Second Additional Metropolitan Sessions Court Judge (in-charge) T. Srinivas Rao that they have ailing parents and have spent around 10 years in prison, and the real perpetrators have to be brought to the justice. “We are also victims of the twin bomb blasts,” they said.

The court, however, rejected their contention, stating that this case comes under the gravest cases of extreme culpability and announced that Anik and Akbar ‘shall be hanged by neck till dead’.

Denying contentions of the defence counsel to consider the age of the convict, as they were in mid-thirties, the court said that was the only mitigating circumstance. “But, only one mitigating circumstance (age of convicts) cannot weigh against the numerous aggravating circumstances. It hardly can tilt balance in favour of the accused,” the court noted.

Pre-planned, barbaric

The crimes committed by the convicts are ‘barbaric or inhuman, diabolic’ and they have shown extreme depravity while committing the twin blasts, it said in the judgment, a copy of which is with The Hindu.

The court further stated that Anik and Akbar did not act on provocation, nor did the act in spur of the moment, but meticulously planned and executed the crimes. It also considered the pre-planned and barbaric nature of the crime, the diabolical manner in which it was committed, and the extreme brutality involved as aggravating circumstances against Anik and Akbar.

Meagre compensation

While delivering the sentence, it also noted that the injured persons in the twin blasts did not receive sufficient compensation from the Government, “hence sufficient compensation may be granted to them”, the judge said.

In both incidents, as many as 64 persons who suffered grievous injuries are entitled for compensation from the District Legal Services Authority.

“Therefore, the Metropolitan Legal Services Authority is requested to decide the quantum of compensation,” the Court said.

Further, it said that of the fine amount collected from the convicts, an amount of ₹1 lakh each shall be given to managements of Lumbini Park Laserium and Gokul Chat Bhandar towards compensation for damages of the property.

While there might be highly defective investigation in the case, it is to be examined whether there are any lapses by the investigating officer and whether such lapse benefit should be given to the accused, the court said. “The law on this issue is well settled that the defect in the investigation by itself cannot be a ground for acquittal,” the court said.

The quantum of punishment was announced on Monday.

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 10:24:27 AM |

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