Verify church blasts convict's medical condition, SC tells state

The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Karnataka government to verify the medical condition of a convict as he has been in jail for about 18 years after having been convicted and awarded life imprisonment for carrying out a series of blasts at various churches in the state in 2000.

Hearing the bail plea of Syed Mohammed Ibrahim, a bench of Justices R K Agrawal
and Abhay Manohar Sapre asked Additional Advocate General Devadatta Kamat to ascertain his condition as his counsel Kamini Jaiswal contended that the 70-year-old petitioner lodged in central prison, Belagavi, suffered from several ailments and was seriously ill.

The counsel contended that some of the accused had died during the pendency of appeal in the top court. She submitted that the petitioner could be granted bail after imposing any condition.

"Whether continued incarceration of the petitioners was justified just because they belonged to a particular community? They are in custody for over 18 years, while during the pendency of appeal, one more accused had died," she contended.

The counsel also submitted that the petitioners were said to be belonging to Deendar-Anjuman organisation, which was proscribed only in 2005. She said the petitioners, who faced similar charges in Andhra Pradesh, were imposed a jail term of a mere six months, while in a case in Goa, they were acquitted.

The court, however, directed the state government's law officer to verify the medical condition of the petitioner and posted the matter for consideration on April 12.

The convicts were alleged to have conspired and carried out the blasts at different churches in Bengaluru, Hubballi and Kalaburagi among others. They challenged the December 14, 2014 order of the Karnataka High Court that upheld their conviction in the case. The HC had commuted the death penalty awarded to them by the trial court to life term.

On June 8, 2000, two consecutive blasts took place at St Ann's Catholic Church, Wadi, Chittapur taluk, Kalaburagi district in three hours. The second blast took place on July 8, 2000 at St Lutheran Church in Hubballi between 3.30 am and 4.30 am.

The third blast was carried out on July 9, 2000 at 10.15 pm at St Peter and Paul church on JJ Nagar Main Road, Bengaluru.

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