M A I N   N E W S

1 to die, 2 get life term in Red Fort attack case
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, October 31
A special court here today awarded death sentence to Lashkar-e-Toiba’s Pakistani terrorist Mohammad Arif, alias Ashfaq, for the attack on Army installations inside the Red Fort four years ago. Two other conspirators, Nazir Ahmed Qasid and his son Farooq Ahmed, convicted along with four others, including Ashfaq’s Indian wife Rehana, were sentenced to life imprisonment.

The father and son duo, who hailed from Srinagar, had helped Ashfaq and other LeT militants from Pakistan in hatching the conspiracy at their home, the court said.

Pronouncing the judgement on quantum of punishment in a jam-packed courtroom at Tis Hazari complex here, Additional Sessions Judge O.P. Saini awarded seven-year rigorous imprisonment to Rehana, whom Ashfaq had married after crossing over to India illegally some years prior to the attack, and three other co-accused, Bagar Mohsin Baghwala, Sadaqat Ali and Matloob Alam.

In its main judgement pronounced on October 24, the court had found Nazir Ahmed and Farooq guilty of helping Ashfaq in waging war against India by conspiring the attack on military installations in the Red Fort on the night of December 22, 2000.

Three main accused were also found guilty of murder, forging documents, cheating and using forged documents.

Two Army personnel and a civilian had fallen victim to the daring attack on the well-fortified Mughal-period monument, which was partially under control of the Army and the Archaeological Survey of India.

Rehana, Baghwala and Sadaqat Ali were found guilty of harbouring three main accused and Matloob was sentenced for participating in the conspiracy with them.

The court also imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on Ashfaq, Nazir Ahmed and his son, main accused, and Rs 20,000 on the remaining four.

“It has been established beyond doubt that the conspiracy of attack was hatched at Farooq and Nazir’s home in Srinagar in 1999,” the court said.

Ashfaq’s other Pakistani accomplices, who had entered the Red Fort with him but managed to escape after a gunbattle with the security forces, included Abu Shaad, Abu Bilal and Abu Hider.

But all of them were killed in a separate encounter with the Delhi Police, while it was on their trail after the arrest of the seven accused.

“The facts of the case speak unmistakably and loudly that these persons conspired to wage a war against India,” the court ruled. The clinching evidence against them came in the form of a telephonic conversation between the accused and those who had escaped and their masters in Pakistan.

The court said the Pakistani nationals “had entered India with a view to indulge in subversive activities and destabilise the government”.

It said Sadaqat had provided them shelter in South Delhi’s Gafoor Nagar area, where Ashfaq started a computer centre with his help to enable him to plan his strategy. The militants took several rounds of New Delhi to select their targets and all of them had managed to prepare forged “ration cards” to show themselves as Indian citizens, the court said.

But the call made by Ashfaq from his cellphone to his masters in Pakistan five minutes after the attack informing about “accomplishment of the mission” and some media offices, proved costly to him as he was nabbed by the police while trailing the origin of the call.

The special cell of the Delhi Police nabbed Ashfaq after a brief encounter in the Jamia Nagar area of South Delhi on December 26, 2000, four days after the attack.


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