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HC admits convict's appeal in Parliament case

Source: PTI
January 16, 2003 01:44 IST
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The Delhi high court on Wednesday admitted the appeal of Parliament attack case convict Navjot Sandhu alias Afsan, in which she has alleged 'miscarriage of justice' in holding her guilty, in the 'absence' of any evidence pointing to her concealing the conspiracy.

Her husband Shaukat Hussain Guru, a member of the banned Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist outfit, has been sentenced to death.

Admitting Afsan's petition challenging her conviction and five years rigorous imprisonment given to her, a bench comprising Justice Usha Mehra and Justice Pradeep Nandrajog directed the prosecution to submit its reply by February 3.

Besides her husband, a special court in New Delhi had also sentenced city college lecturer S A R Geelani and another JeM member Mohammed Afzal to death on December 18.

Sandhu's counsel Nitya Ramakrishnan said since her client had not been convicted under Prevention of Terrorism Act and there was 'no evidence' against her, she can try for an acquittal.

"There is not a shred of evidence to show why she should have intended to facilitate such a design [the attack]... and the only reason for concealing, even if assuming it was true, could be protection of her husband," her petition said.

Alleging that the evidence, on which the trial court had relied upon, were 'tampered' by the police --- especially the telephonic conversations on the basis of which she was arrested --- it said, "Such a course occasions miscarriage of justice for her." Any element of knowledge about the conspiracy "has to show a physical manifestation", it said.

The trial judge had found her guilty of concealing the conspiracy stating that she had a prior knowledge of the attack on Parliament on December 13, 2001.

Sandhu pleaded that the welfare of her child born in jail while she was in judicial custody, also 'deserved' a leniency in her case.

There was 'glaring contradictions' between the mobile telephone testimony and the report of the forensic experts, the petition said alleging a 'crucial file relating to the forensic report was tampered'.

"Even the confessional statements of two accused [her husband and Afzal] do not ascribe any facilitation by her in the conspiracy," it said adding, "after the incident, harbouring or protection to her husband is not a 'knowing facilitation' as she had no knowledge about his role."

Geelani has also filed an appeal in the court on Tuesday, but it could not be heard on Wednesday.

He has also claimed that there was no 'direct or indirect' evidence to prove his complicity in the crime and his having any knowledge of it.

Geelani, Afzal and Shaukat, convicted under the provisions of POTA and the Indian Penal Code, were found guilty by the trial judge of waging a war against India, murder and committing terrorist acts resulting in the death of nine persons.

The Attack on Parliament

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