Delhi HC grants bail to 2008 serial blasts accused after 12 years

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New Delhi [India], October 6 (ANI): Delhi High Court on Wednesday granted bail to a man arrested in connection with the 2008 serial blasts in the national capital.

The court noted that the appellant/accused has been in judicial custody/police custody since February 4, 2009, for a period of more than 12-and-a-half years till date.

A division bench of Justice Sidharth Mridul and Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani while granting bail to the appellant Mohd Hakim, stated that in their opinion, the man has made out a case that his right to a speedy trial is being defeated and would continue to be violated if he is not enlarged on bail, having already spent more than 12 years in custody as an undertrial.

Delhi HC order further stated that courts must not play coroner and attend to legal or constitutional rights only after they are "dead". Instead, we must play doctor, and save such rights from demise before they are extinguished.

"Courts should pro-actively step-in to protect such rights from being stifled and buried. If equity calls upon affected persons to be vigilant to protect their rights, then surely the courts must also be vigilant, and, to quote the Supreme Court, act as sentinels on the qui vive when it comes to protecting constitutional and legal rights," Court observed.

"The applicant shall furnish a personal bond in the sum of Rs 25,000 with two local surety in the like amount from family members and also shall furnish to the Investigating Officer a cellphone number on which the applicant may be contacted at any time; and shall ensure that the number is kept active and switched-on at all times," the court said.

Advocate Amit Chaddha, Additional Public Prosecutor appearing on behalf of the State/NIA while opposed the bail stated that the offences with which the appellant/accused is charged are grave and heinous, concerning the serial bomb blasts that occurred in different places in Delhi on September 13, 2008, in which some 26 people died and 135 were injured, and the responsibility for such serial blasts was taken by a terrorist outfit called "Indian Mujahideen."

In connection with the serial bomb blasts, five FIRs were registered at various police stations and in subsequent raids conducted by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police at certain premises in Batla House, Delhi to apprehend suspected militants, two police officers sustained injuries, one inspector of the Delhi Police died and a cache of arms and ammunition was recovered, the Additional Public Prosecutor submitted.

The involvement of Mohd Hakim, in the serial blasts was disclosed for the first time by another arrested accused, Zeeshan Ahmad alias Anda in his disclosure statement dated October 3, 2008, as a consequence of which Mohd Hakim was arrested some three months later by the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS), Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh; whereupon he disclosed his involvement in the serial bomb blasts of September 13, 2008, the prosecutor said.

Senior advocate Nitya Ramakrishnan appearing for Mohd Hakim submitted that the trial continues to be at the stage of prosecution evidence, with 256 witnesses having been examined, but more than 60 witnesses still left to be examined and the appellant having already spent more than 12 years in custody.

The appellant's right to a speedy trial, as read into Article 21 of the Constitution of India, is being violated and the appellant deserves to be released on regular bail during the pendency of the trial, she added.

On September 13, 2008, a series of five synchronised bomb blasts took place within a span of few minutes at various locations in Delhi. (ANI)

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