New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India has ordered commencement of trial against two accused persons—Rafiq Wani and Hilal Ahmed Sheikh—who were arrested a few years ago on charges of killing Dr Musir-ul-Haq, Kashmir University’s vice chancellor in 1990.
To have the proceedings initiated, a division bench of the apex court comprising Justices Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Amitava Roy directed its registry to immediately send back the original records to the trial court—3rd Additional Sessions Judge, Jammu (Designated Court T.A.D.A., Jammu).
The apex court passed the directions after hearing Maninder Singh, Additional Solicitor General of India, appearing for the Central Bureau of Investigation.
In 2009, the Special Court under TADA (Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act) in Jammu acquitted all the accused, who were arrested then, in connection with abduction and subsequent killing of the former vice-chancellor along with his private secretary Abdul Gani Zargar and general manager of the HMT watch factory HL Khera in the Valley as CBI failed to prove its case.
It was in 2014 that police claimed arrest of one of the accused, Hilal Ahmed Sheikh, son of Ghulam Nabi of Naid Doori here.
According to the CBI, the accused and his accomplice Hilal Beigh, chief of Students Liberation Front (SLF), had abducted Haq and his private secretary on April 6, 1990 to secure the release of jailed militants—Nissar Ahmed Jogi, Ghulam Nabi Bhat and Fiyaz Ahmed Wani.
In the charge sheet, CBI had named Hilal Beigh, Javed Ahmed Shala, Mushtaq Ahmed Sheikh, Mohammad Ashraf Bhat, Aftab and Mohammad Hussain Khan as accused along with Hilal Ahmed Sheikh and Rafiq Wani.
Beigh died during the course of trial, while proceedings under section 512 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to declare others, including Sheikh, as absconders were initiated. In April 2009, after 19 years of trial, the special TADA court acquitted all other accused pertaining to the abduction and subsequent killing of Haq as the CBI failed to prove its case.
Similarly, in another case pertaining to the abduction and killing of HMT general manager HL Khera on April 6, 1990, the TADA judge observed that a doubt arises on truthfulness of confession of the accused in the absence of any corroboration, resulting in prosecution’s failure to prove its case against Mohammad Saleem Zargar and Tahir Ahmed Mir. The CBI has challenged the acquittal before the Supreme Court.