The Rajasthan High Court on Monday acquitted six people who were imprisoned for life in connection with a 23-year-old bomb blast case in the state’s Samleti village in Dausa district, PTI reported. Fourteen people were killed and 37 injured in the blast on a bus on the Jaipur-Agra Highway on May 22, 1996. The bus was travelling from Agra to Bikaner.
In September 2014, a trial court in Bandikui convicted eight people, and awarded the death penalty to one person – Abdul Hamid – and life imprisonment to seven others.
The Jaipur bench of the High Court on Monday upheld the death penalty of Hamid, the main conspirator, and the life term awarded to Pappu alias Salim, who supplied the explosives. The division bench of Justices Sabina and Goverdhan Bardhar said the prosecution failed to establish the links between Hamid and the six other accused. The High Court also upheld the acquittal of another person, Farukh Ahmed Khan, in the case. The state government had challenged his 2014 acquittal but the court dismissed it.
The six people who were acquitted on Monday included five from Jammu and Kashmir – Javed Khan, Latif Ahmed Baja, Mohammad Ali Bhatt, Mirja Nisar and Abdul Goni – and Rais Beg from Agra in Uttar Pradesh. Five of them were released from the Jaipur Central Jail on Tuesday but Khan is still in Tihar jail as he is also an accused in the Lajpat Nagar bomb blast case, according to The Indian Express. Thirteen people were killed in this blast on May 21, 1996.
While Beg was in jail since June 8, 1997, the other were imprisoned between June 17, 1996, and July 27, 1996. They were moved between jails in Delhi and Ahmedabad but were never released on parole or bail.
“We’ve lost relatives while we were inside,” Beg told The Indian Express after he stepped out of jail on Tuesday. “My mother, father and two uncles passed away. We have been acquitted, but who will bring back those years?”