SC suspends death sentence of Aftab Ansari

A bench comprising Justices G S Singhvi and C K Prasad directed the West Bengal government to respond within four months to the petition filed by Ansari challenging his conviction and death sentence in the case.

Ansari has challenged the Calcutta High Court’s February 2010 order which upheld the death sentence awarded to him by the sessions court for his involvement in the crime.
According to the prosecution, two motorcycle-borne men had indiscriminately fired with an AK-47 assault rifle at the security staff (policemen) outside the American Centre on Jawaharlal Nehru Road in the morning of January 22, 2002, killing six of them and injuring fourteen.

Death sentence stayed
Ansari and co-accused Jamiluddin Nasir were awarded capital punishment. However, three others were sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had stayed the death sentence awarded to Nasir.
The sessions court in April 2005 had sentenced Ansari, Nasir and three others to death while acquitting two others.

They were charged with Sections 121 (waging war against the state), 121-A (conspiracy), 302 and 9 (murder) and 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 27(3) of the Arms Act.

Just four days after the attack, two men — Salim and Zahid — were killed in an encounter with a Delhi police team in Hazaribagh in Jharkhand.
The police had come to know about the involvement of Aftab Ansari in the American Centre attack from the dying declarations of Salim and Zahid.
Ansari was arrested from Dubai and deported to India on February 9, 2002, to face trial. He was part of a terror outfit, Asif Reza Commando Force, that reportedly had links with Harkat-ul-Jehadi-e-Islam.

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