Delhi HC blast: Trial against Wasim Akram Malik commences

Wasim Akram Malik was arrested for his alleged role in the September 2011 Delhi High Court blast.

New Delhi: The trial against Wasim Akram Malik, arrested by NIA for his alleged role in the September 2011 Delhi High Court blast on Monday commenced in a court here which recorded the statement of co-accused-turned-approver Amir Abbas Dev.

During the in-chamber hearing, district judge I S Mehta recorded the testimony of Dev, who was also arrested by National Investigation Agency (NIA) for his alleged role in the blast but had later turned approver and was granted pardon by the court.

According to court sources, two statements given earlier by Dev before a magistrate under section 164 of the CrPC were placed before the judge during the proceedings.

The statements recorded by a magistrate under section 164 of the CrPC bind a person and any deviation during the trial would make him liable for prosecution for the offence of perjury.

In his two statements, Dev had given details of the conspiracy which led to the blast at the high court`s reception on September 7, 2011 killing 15 people, sources said.

They also said that Dev told the magistrate about the hatching of the conspiracy and involvement of other accused in the blast.

The special NIA court will continue tomorrow the recording of Dev`s testimony during which Malik`s counsel would cross-examine him.

Dev had earlier moved an application before the court saying he was willing to turn approver in the case.

The court had framed charges against Malik under various provisions of the IPC, including that of waging war against India, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Explosive Substance Act.

Earlier, the trial court had declined NIA`s plea to prosecute Malik under stringent charge of waging war against India which entails maximum punishment of death penalty, but the Delhi High Court had ruled otherwise.

The trial court had said that merely because an e-mail referring to the release of Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru, who was hanged on February 9, was sent by the accused after the blast, it does not mean that an offence against the state was committed.

However, the high court had on December 3 ordered the trial court to frame charges of waging war against the country against Malik, who is lodged in jail under judicial custody, after which the special NIA court had framed additional charges against him under relevant provisions of IPC.