Srinagar: A Special NIA Court at Srinagar acquitted six persons of the charges of murder of Moulvi Showkat Ahmad Shah, president of Jamiat-ul-Ahl-i-Hadees who was killed in an IED blast in 2009 while he was on his way to lead congregational prayers in Maisuma, Srinagar.
Judge Ashwani Kumar Sharma while setting free the six persons, namely, Nisar Ahmad khan, Abdul Gani Dar, Javed Ahmad Munshi, Abdul Majid Dar Almadni, Gulzar Khan, and Riyaz Ahmad Shah, recorded that a terror strike indeed took place with the use of an IED to kill Moulvi Showkat Ahmad Shah, but who carried out the terror strike and who blasted the IED had not been established before the court by the prosecution.
“It has also not been established before the court when the conspiracy was hatched as alleged to kill the deceased,” the court said.
Judge Sharma said that the prosecution had failed to examine the IO (Investigating Officer) in the case and had not rendered any explanation regarding not examining the IO, which was fatal to the case of the prosecution as the case was entirely based on circumstantial evidence.
The prosecution had also failed to prove the FIR as well as the site plan of the spot, Judge Sharma said.
“As such, both are inadmissible in evidence and cannot be relied upon for sustaining the conviction of the accused persons,” the judge recorded.
The judge noted that it is a settled principle of criminal jurisprudence that no conviction can sustain on the basis of suspicion, however grave it may be.
“It is also a settled principle of criminal jurisprudence that a hundred guilty persons may escape punishment but no innocent should be convicted by the court,” Judge Sharma remarked.
The judge pointed out that the prosecution had miserably failed to fully establish the circumstances associated with the case.
“The challan of the prosecution, as such, is dismissed. Accused persons are acquitted of the charges levelled against them, that is, 302 RPC, 7/25 IA Act, 4/5 Explosive Substance Act & 16/18 UA(P) Act, by giving them a reasonable benefit of doubt,” the court ruled.
The court said that the bail and personal bonds of the accused stand discharged herewith.
“The accused persons are hereby set at liberty forthwith. The seized arms and ammunition shall be deposited (if in workable condition) to the government armoury at Zewan, after the period of appeal is over,” the court directed.
Meantime the court also said that since accused no. 7, namely, Fayaz Ahmad Dar, General Secretary of Jihad Council Kashmir, is presently in Muzaffarabad and accused no. 8, namely, Mohammad Azhar Mali, Commander North Kashmir of United Jehad Council, has been proceeded against under Section 512 CrPC as such, “the file is directed to be consigned to records after due compilation and shall be put before the court on the arrest of accused no. 7 and 8”.
On 8 April, 2009, religious scholar Mushtaq Ahmad Shah was killed in a blast triggered by an IED when he was on way to lead prayers at Ahl-i-Hadees Masjid at Budshah Chowk, Maisuma.
The police during their investigation in FIR no. 17/2009 lodged in the case arrested six persons, claiming that out of personal enmity, the accused no. 4, namely, Abdul Majid Dar Almadni, along with other accusers had hatched criminal conspiracy to eliminate the deceased.
The police also alleged that the accused wanted Moulvi Showkat Ahmad Shah to be done away with because he was “anti to the movement and a mouthpiece of the agencies.”