SC commutes death penalty of American Centre attack convicts

SC commutes death penalty of American Centre attack convicts

SC commutes death penalty of American Centre attack convicts

The Supreme Court on Wednesday commuted the death penalties awarded to two convicts in the 2002 American Centre attack case, holding that though their offence was of very high magnitude, it did not warrant capital punishment.

A bench of Justices A K Patnaik and F M I Kalifullah ordered that Aftab Ansari, the mastermind, would remain in jail for life and co-convict Nasir up to 30 years in prison without any remission.

The court upheld the conviction of both for offences of waging war against the country, murder, attempt to murder and others.

“The involvement of appellants Aftab and Nasir in respect of the offences for which they were charged and found proved are devilish, diabolic, horrendous, vicious, wicked and its magnitude cannot be lessoned on any account in our considered opinion, the role of appellant Nasir was always a shade lesser than what can be attributed to appellant Aftab,” the court concluded.

“We wish to hold that the imposition of death penalty is not warranted in the facts and circumstances of the case though it calls for other deterrent punishment,” the bench added.

The indiscriminate firing at the American Centre in Kolkata on January 22, 2002, by two motorcycle-borne persons had left five police personnel dead and around 13 personnel and other civilians grievously injured, apart from causing damage to public property.

In its 195-page verdict, the court said, “The offences committed by the appellants are of a very high magnitude and it has created an indelible scar on the mind of the public.”

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