Jammu: A special court here on Monday farmed charges against Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik and six others in a 30-year-old case of gunning down of Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel on the outskirts of Srinagar.
The additional sessions TADA judge III, a designated court for hearing the case, had on Saturday said that there was enough evidence to frame charges against Malik and six others in the case, officials said.
On Monday, the court ordered framing of charges against all the seven accused after hearing the CBI as well as defence counsel, they said.
The accused were produced before the court through video-conferencing as Malik is lodged in Delhi’s Tihar Jail in connection with a case registered by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for alleged terror funding of separatist activities in Jammu and Kashmir.
A note for signature of Malik had also been sent to him at Tihar Jail as he was present throughout the trial through video conferencing, the officials said.
The judge had ordered on Saturday that charges could be framed against Malik, Ali Mohammed Mir, Manzoor Ahmed Sofi alias Mustafa, Javed Ahmed Mir, Showkat Ahmed Bakhshi, Javed Ahmed Zargar and Saleem Nanaji.
All have been charge-sheeted for murder, attempt to murder and sections from now-defunct Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act.
Malik Pleads Not Guilty
Yasin Malik and six other accused pleaded “not guilty” in the killing of five IAF personnel in Srinagar in 1990.
“I do not plead guilty. It is a fabricated case,” he said, when Special judge NIA Subash Gupta read out the charges to him through video conferencing and asked him whether he pleaded guilty, or he wanted to face trial. The judge fixed the date of hearing on March 30.
Decks for the trial of Malik and others in the case were cleared last April when the Jammu and Kashmir high court struck down a 2008 order that had transferred their hearing to Srinagar.
The CBI’s counsel Monika Kohli had argued before the high court that the agency had opposed transfer of cases to Srinagar which was rejected. She also informed the court that petitions challenging the order of TADA court were filed with the high court but the same could not be heard so far.
Highlighting the CBI objections, Kohli also informed the high court that the TADA court in Srinagar had been abolished and the designated court in Jammu was given jurisdiction throughout the state with headquarters in Jammu in May 1990.
In a 27-page judgment, Justice Sanjay Kumar Gupta had vacated an order by a single bench of the high court which had stayed trial against Malik in 1995, besides observing that the October 25, 2008 order of special Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act court of Jammu allowing Malik’s petition for shifting trial to Srinagar was not correct.
“…from bare perusal of contents of petitions and relief sought therein, one can definitely come to conclusion that petitioners (Malik) have sought transfer of their cases from designated court Jammu to additional court at Srinagar, which is not permissible under law,” Justice Gupta said in his order.
The framing of charges was in connection with the case related to the killing of Indian Air Force officers on January 25, 1990 on the outskirts of Srinagar city. The charge sheet was filed by the CBI same year in August.
According to the CBI, IAF personnel were fired upon by militants in which 40 of them received serious injuries and four IAF personnel were killed on the spot.
On completion of investigation, a charge sheet was filed on August 31, 1990 against Malik and six others before the designated TADA Court at Jammu.
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