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Apex Court stays death sentence of 2 terrorists in Akshardham attack case

The Supreme Court (Apex court of India) on Monday stayed the death sentence of two terrorists in the daring Akshardham temple attack . In which 33 persons were killed and sought Gujarat Government's response to a plea for a re-investigation by CBI or any other independent probe agency. 

The apex court also issued notice to the Gujarat Government on the appeal of death row convicts--Adambhai Sulemanbhai Ajmeri, Abdul Kayum alias Muftisaab Mohmedbha--and two others who alleged that tainted IPS officer D Vanzara, arrested in connection with the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case, had falsely implicated them in the September 22, 2002 attack in Ahmedabad. 

The petitioner through counsel Anis Suhrawardy and Mehdi Imamam submitted before a Bench of Justices B Sudershan Reddy and S S Nijjar that they were erroneously convicted and sentenced to death by the Special POTA court by relying on false evidence produced by the Gujarat police which included Vanzara who at that time was a Deputy Commissioner of of Police. 

"It is submitted that the investigating officer Shri Singhal who is the ACP never visited Jammu and Kashmir or Hyderabad which as per the prosecution was where the conspiracy was alleged to have been hatched. It is interesting to note that Shri D.G. Vanzara (DCP) who as per the prosecution went to J and K has not been examined by the prosecution who was even otherwise a material witness," the appeal said. According to the appeal, the matter needs to be re-investigated by the CBI or any other independent investigating agency as it involved the life and liberty of the citizen which cannot be left to the whims and caprice of the prosecution. 

The petitioners submitted that the Gujarat police had falsely implicated them and till date was not able to establish the identity of the two fidayeens who were shot dead during the encounter. "Because for the purposes of securing justice the investigating agencies were not required to act with a communal flair thus to seek an advantage on the hand for the dis-advantage of the innocent citizens for whom the constitutional safeguards and guarantees by the Constitutional and the rule of law existed the application of law was liable to be applied equitably in just fair and impartial manner," the petition said. According to the petitioners, the High Court failed to appreciate these facts while confirming the death sentence. 

"Because the Honrable High Court failed to appreciate that if Vanzara and company were doing false encounters, then there was every reason for making this a false case based on wholly cooked up story," the petition claimed. Besides the two death convicts, two others- Mohmed Salim Hanif Shaikh and Abdullamiya Yasinmiya Kadri have filed the appeal challenging the life imprisonment and 10 years sentence imposed on them respectively in the terrorist attack.

On September 24, 2002 at around 4.30 p.m fidayeens armed with AK-56 rifles and hand grenades committed mayhem at the temple killing 33 devotees. NSG commandos who took control of the temple managed to shoot down two of them to death. On July 1, 2006, the Special Judge POTA Ahmedabad, convicted the four accused and awarded death sentence to two of them. The Gujarat High Court on June 1, dismissed their appeal following which they approached the apex court. Subscribe to SCHOLARS CLUB
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