Lajpat Nagar blast sentencing deferred to April 22



New Delhi: A Delhi court on Saturday deferred pronouncement of the sentence against six convicted 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 them.

District and Sessions Judge SP Garg, who had earlier fixed the matter for pronouncement of punishment today, deferred it for April 22 as he was on leave.

The court, on April 8, had convicted six out of ten suspected militants of the JKIF and rapped the police for its "highly defective" probe in the case and callous attitude.

Earlier, Additional Public Prosecutor K Dass had submitted that the four convicts, who were held guilty for heinous offences, did not deserve any leniency and be awarded death penalty.

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.

The plea was vehemently opposed by the defence counsel of the six convicts.

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 of varying roles in the case.

Except for Farooq Ahmed Khan and Farida Dar, the other four face the maximum punishment of death penalty as they have been convicted for the offences 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 around 6:30 pm on May 21, 1996, in crowded Central Market at Lajpat Nagar in south Delhi, killing 13 persons and injuring 38 others.

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.

PTI