Delhi HC acquits two convicts awaiting death penalty in Lajpat Nagar blasts.

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Delhi High Court slammed police for “serious lapses” in the investigations of the 1996 Lajpat Nagar bomb blast case, on Thursday and acquitted two Kashmiris who were earlier sentenced to death for their alleged role in blasts.

The court converted Mohd Naushad’s death penalty to life term, while acquitting Mirza Nissar Hussain and Mohd Ali Bhat alias Kille, who had been given the capital punishment by the trial court. The bench, however, upheld the life sentence given to another convict Javed Ahmad Khan alias Chotta Javed. The court gave its verdict, rebuking the Delhi Police for its failure to get even the minimum standard of proof and saying that it has shown casual approach in the case.

“Police has not maintained minimum standard of probe in the case, Test Identification Parade was not conducted, and statement of vital witnesses were not recorded. There was also absence of ‘Delhi Diary’ entry in the case,” the bench said.

On May 21, 1996, 13 people were killed and 38 injured in a blast that took place in Delhi’s business hub Lajpat Nagar.

A city court had in April 2010 convicted six alleged JKIF militants, awarding death sentence to Mohd Naushad, Mohd Ali Bhatt and Mirza Nissar Hussain while giving life sentence to Javed Ahmed Khan.

The remaining two convicts, Farooq Ahmed Khan and his woman accomplice Farida Dar, who had been held guilty for offences under the Explosive Substances Act and the Arms Act, were sentenced to imprisonment for seven years and four years and two months respectively.

The court had been hearing the appeals of the four – Naushad, Ali Bhatt, Mirza Nissar Hussain and Javed Ahmed Khan – against their conviction and sentencing by the trial court.

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