- Kashmiri Gulzar Ahmed Wani has been in jail for 16 years in a terror case
- Ten of the 11 cases against him have been dismissed, with only one pending
- The SC cracked down on the cops, stating that their delays in the case were a 'shame'
- Whether the cops finish their investigations or not, Wani will get bail on Nov 1
The Supreme Court today granted bail to a former Aligarh Muslim University scholar Gulzar Ahmed Wani lodged in jail since 2001 on charges of orchestrating a blast in the Sabarmati Express train in 2000.
The blast in the train was carried out on the eve of the Independence Day when it was on its way from Muzaffarpur to Ahmedabad and was close to Kanpur, claiming ten lives. Jailed as a 28-year-old PhD student, Wani is now a 44-year-old ruined man. 10 of the 11 cases against him have been dismissed, despite the pathetically slow pace of the police and the courts.
A bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud observed that Wani has suffered incarceration for over 16 years and has been acquitted in nine out of 11 cases lodged against him. The apex court noted that the co-accused of petitioner Wani have been released on bail in 2001.
Clearly fed up with the police's 'chalta hai' attitude, the bench came down hard on the cops. "What a shame! He has been acquitted in 10 out of 11 serious cases slapped on him. No credible evidence has been found against him by the trial court in all of these cases. The problem with the police is that they keep persons in jail and do not produce evidence against them in court," the bench observed scathingly.
As the bench noted, out of 96 prosecution witnesses, only 20 witnesses have been examined so far. The court directed the trial court to examine all material witnesses by October 31.
But clearly understanding the plight of the accused, the court finally decided to grant him bail on a future date, whatever the cops or the courts might do.
"The trial court is directed to complete the exercise of examining the material witnesses by October 31, 2017. Whether the exercise is completed or not, the petitioner (Wani) shall be released on bail on November 1, 2017, on set terms and conditions of the trial court," the bench said.
Wani, who was arrested by Delhi Police in 2001 allegedly with explosives and incriminating materials, is a resident of Srinagar, Kashmir, and is currently lodged in Lucknow.
He was pursuing PhD in Arabic from AMU when he was arrested from the capital on July 30, 2001. The arrest was made in connection with explosives recovered in Delhi.
Son of retired government employee Ghulam Mohammad, Wani after completing his studies at Baramullah in Kashmir came to Uttar Pradesh where he completed his graduation and post-graduation from AMU.
The Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court on August 26, 2015, had denied bail to Wani saying "release of such persons would adversely affect the interest of the society".
Wani had challenged the High Court order before the apex court which had last year directed the trial court to expeditiously examine the material witnesses of the case in six months.
After the blast, Wani was booked under various sections of Railway Act, Indian Penal Code and Explosives Act in the case lodged at GRP police station, Barabanki.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:50 PM IST