Re-trial in 1997 blast case begins

The Supreme Court had set aside the death sentence of Pakistani national and 1997 Delhi blast case convict Mohammad Hussain.

New Delhi: With the Supreme Court setting aside the death sentence of Pakistani national and the 1997 Delhi blast case convict Mohammad Hussain and ordering his fresh trial, a city court on Thursday began the trial and examined three prosecution witnesses.

Additional Sessions Judge Pawan Jain examined prosecution witnesses -- sub inspectors Mahesh Kumar and Rameshwar Singh and Head Constable Jai Singh -- and discharged them after cross-examining them.

The apex court had ordered Hussain`s fresh trial on his plea that his right to have a free and fair trial had been impeded because he had no legal counsel to represent him during the trial.

The police, meanwhile, told the court that it would trace before soon some public witnesses, whose whereabouts are not known at present.

Appearing before ASJ Jain, the investigating officer of the case said they are going to ascertain the whereabouts of some public witnesses in the case as a long time has elapsed since the conclusion of the trial.

The court has now summoned six witnesses who will be examined tomorrow.

The court had yesterday appointed advocate Rajesh Anand as the amicus curiae and the matter is to be heard on a day-to-day basis.

The ASJ also asked a senior police official to monitor the case while directing the IO to appear before the court on each hearing.

On December 30, 1997, a blast had been triggered in a Blueline bus at Rampura near Punjabi Bagh in West Delhi, leaving 4 persons dead and 24 others injured. Mohammad Hussain was convicted in the case while three persons were discharged.

The Supreme Court had on August 31 this year ordered fresh trial in the case, setting aside the conviction and capital punishment awarded to Hussain, after he submitted that he was not given full opportunity to defend himself in the lower court.


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