Delhi HC blast: Trial against Malik to commence tomorrow

The trial against Wasim Akram Malik, arrested for his alleged role in the September 2011 Delhi High Court blast, will commence tomorrow in a Delhi court.

The special NIA court had framed charges against Malik including that of waging war against India and fixed April 1 for recording of evidence in the case.

District judge I S Mehta will start the trial by recording the statement of co-accused-turned-approver Amir Abbas Dev, who was also arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for his alleged role in the blast but had later turned approver and was granted pardon by the court.
The blast had left 15 people dead.

The court had framed charges under sections 121 (waging war against country), 121-A (conspiring to commit certain offences against the state), 122 (collecting arms with intention of waging war against government) and 123 (concealing with intent to felicitate a design to wage war) of the IPC against Malik.

Earlier, the trial court had declined NIA's plea to prosecute Malik under stringent charge of waging war against India which entails maximum punishment of death penalty, but the Delhi High Court had ruled otherwise.

The trial court said that merely because an e-mail referring to the release of Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru, who was hanged on February 9, was sent by the accused after the blast, it does not mean that an offence against the state was committed.

However, the High Court had on December 3 last year ordered the trial court to frame charges of waging war against the country against Malik, who is lodged in jail under judicial custody, after which the special NIA court had framed additional charges against him under relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code.

The trial court had earlier framed charges, including that of murder, against Malik under the IPC, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Explosive Substance Act for his alleged role in the attack at the High Court's reception area.

The court had also framed charges against Malik for offences punishable under sections 120-B(criminal conspiracy), 440 (mischief committed after preparation made for causing death or hurt), 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance), 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 323 (causing hurt) and 325 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt) of the IPC.

Subsequent to framing of the charges, Malik had pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.
While deciding to frame charges against Malik, the trial court had referred to Dev's statement to the magistrate under Section 164 of the CrPC.

The NIA had filed charge sheet against six persons including Malik, Dev and a minor.
The minor's case is being adjudicated separately.

Two others, Amir Kamal and Junaid Akram Malik, suspected members of the banned Hizb-ul Mujahideen and evading arrest were also named in the charge sheet.
The NIA had told the court that the sixth accused Shakir Hussain Sheikh alias Chota Hafiz was killed in an encounter with security forces on December 20 last year in Kishtwar in Jammu and Kashmir.

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