New Delhi: A Delhi court on Tuesday deferred
to April 17 the pronouncement of sentence against six
militants of Jammu and Kashmir Islamic Front (JKIF) in the
1996 Lajpat Nagar blast case in which the prosecution has
sought death penalty for four of the convicts.
District and Sessions Judge S P Garg, after hearing
arguments on the quantum of sentence, said that he would
pronounce the order on April 17 after perusing the various
case laws filed by the prosecutor and the defence counsel.
"Keeping in view the fact that 13 innocent persons
lost their life in the blast, the four convicts do not deserve
any leniency and be awarded the severest punishment that is
death penalty," Additional Public Prosecutor S K Dass said.
The prosecutor also demanded the maximum prescribed
sentences against Farooq Ahmed Khan and lone woman convict
Farida Dar who were convicted under milder penal provisions of
the Explosive Substances Act and the Arms Act.
Countering the argument, senior advocate Aman Lekhi
appearing for Farida, said "the convict lady has been
acquitted of severe charges pertaining to murder and
conspiracy. Punishing her just for the sake of awarding
punishment would amount to following the retribution theory,
which is a thing of past."
Defence lawyer Khalil Ansari, appearing for the other
five convicts, said, "the case does not fall under the
rarest of rare category warranting imposition of the capital
punishment as almost all the convicts were teenagers at the
time of incident and could be reformed".
The court had on April eight convicted six out of ten
suspected militants and rapped the police for "highly
defective" probe and callous attitude.
Six members of JKIF, Mohd Naushad, Mohd Ali
Bhatt, Mirza Nissar Hussain, Javed Ahmed Khan, Farooq Ahmed
Khan and woman associate Farida Dar were held guilty for
varying roles in the sensational case.
Except Farooq Ahmed Khan and Farida Dar, the other
four face themaximum punishment of death penalty as they have
been convicted for serious offence of murder, conspiracy, and
attempt to murder under the IPC.
The remaining four -- Mirza Iftikhar, Latif Ahmed
Waza, Syed Maqbool Shah, and Abdul Gani -- were acquitted of
all the charges for want of sufficient evidence.
A stolen Maruti car laden with explosives went off at
around 6:30 PM on May 21, 1996, in crowded Central Market at
Lajpat Nagar in south Delhi, killing 13 persons and injuring
The 10 accused were arrested soon after the incident
when the police traced the phone calls they made to various
media houses claiming responsibility for the terror attack.