Monday, December 16, 2013

Terror case goes through 18 judges, accused in limbo

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: A case of conspiracy—to set the ONGC headquarters, in Bandra, on fire—registered in March 2010 has dragged on, while the fate of two men hangs in balance. Transferred repeatedly, it is at present with the 18th judge at the Bombay City Civil and Sessions court, which has 65 judges.
 On March 13, 2010, the ATS arrested Abdul Latif Rashid, now 33, and his brother in-law Riyaz Ali Imtiyaz, now 25, in the case and also said they were planning terrorist activities at Mangaldas Market in Crawford Market, Thakkar Mall in Borivli, a chawl near Thakkar Mall and G7 cinema in Bandra. Charges were framed against the duo on June 23, 2011. Till date, only seven of over 30 witnesses have been examined. Meanwhile, Rashid and Imtiyaz have continued to be in Arthur Road jail.  Rashid used to sell old clothes in Dahisar and Imtiyaz, whose mother sells old clothes, worked as a salesman in Thakkar Mall.

    “The judges are delaying the trial. It’s too much. Why are they not giving us justice?” sa
id Rashid’s father. He has filed an application in the registrar’s office to seek a list of the judges who have heard his son’s case.   “But they are not giving me that list. Everywhere they delay things that affect poor people like us,” he told TOI.
    Abdul Latif Rashid and Riyaz Ali Imtiyaz were arrested on March 13, 2010 for
conspiring to set the ONGC headquarters in Bandra on fire
    ATS said duo had bought 10 litres of petrol to set the 10-storey ONGC bldg
on fire; they were also planning terrorist activities at Mangaldas Market in Crawford Market and in Borivli and Bandra
    Charges framed against the accused on June 23, 2011
    Among 18 judges, many adhoc, A N Choure heard case for 13 days, S M Modak for 39 days, and S M Bhagat for 20 days. K Itolikar transferred the case the same day it reached his court

Defence demands speedy justice

Mumbai: The conspiracy case against Abdul Latif Rashid and Riyaz Ali Imtiyaz is registered under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). “Many of the courts the case went to had ad-hoc judges, who do not have powers to conduct trials under the UAPA,” said a source.
    One of the judges, A N Choure, heard it for only 13 days (in June 2011) before transferring it. Another judge, A G Bilolikar, heard the case for less than two months (the charges were made in his court). The next judge, S M Modak, heard the case for 39 days. Later, the case went to judge S M Bhagat, who heard it for 20 days before transferring it. On the 13th transfer, the case went to judge K Itolikar’s court (October 20, 2012) and was transferred the same day. The next court heard it for two weeks. The 18th and last judge is U B Hejib, to whom the case reached on November 29.
    Defence lawyer Tarique Sayyed said, “We just want a speedy trial so that justice is done.”
    IPS officer-tuned-lawyer Y P Singh said that as per precedent, a case must be disposed of at a sessions court in one session, generally comprising three to 10 days. “It is shocking to note that though the accused is in custody, the case has moved around for such a long period of time. It seems that in this case, the criminal justice system has failed to meet its designated objectives,” said Singh.


The Times of India, December 16, 2013

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