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After 12 years of incarceration, Tariq Ahmed Dar, cleared of terror charges in the 2005 Delhi serial bomb blasts, walked out of jail around 11 pm on Wednesday. While the court convicted him of being a Lashkar-e-Taiba operative, it said he had served the maximum sentence (10 years) prescribed under the law for these offences.
On Thursday afternoon, Dar was at the Patiala House Courts Complex where he is facing trial in a related money laundering case. He was accompanied by his brother and sister-in-law, and appeared remarkably composed. “The first thing I want to do is meet my daughter; she was born after I went to prison. I want to reconnect with my brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces — everyone I haven’t seen for 12 years,” said Dar, who plans to be back in the Valley by Friday. Dar was granted bail in the money laundering case on February 20.
Stating that the families of the blast victims are yet to get justice and the actual culprits could still be at large, Dar said “Insaaf toh hua hi nahin, kisi ke saath bhi nahin, (Justice was never delivered… to anyone). We still do not know where the real culprits are. If this is justice, what is injustice?”
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The court had described Dar as a medical degree holder and a qualified medical representative working with Johnson & Johnson, who had received four gold medals from the company for excellence in service.
“Why would I become a terrorist mastermind when I was doing so well in the professional sphere? It took me a long time to get used to the fact that I was a terror accused… when I did not even know any terrorists,” he said.
Dar also claimed that a senior official of the Special Cell had come to him at a later stage of the trial and said he was aware of his innocence. “He also apologised for the wrongful detention,” he claimed.
During the brief time on Thursday when Dar came to attend proceedings in the court of Additional Sessions Judge Reetesh Singh, several other terror accused lodged in Tihar Jail waved to him and wished him luck.
About his time at Tihar, Dar said he did not undergo any torture or discrimination. But he had a radically different take on the time he had spent in Lodhi Road police station, where he was lodged right after his arrest. “Abu Ghraib (prison in Iraq) cannot be worse than Lodhi Road. I was…waterboarded; My legs were usually tied up,” Dar alleged.
He added that he wants to appeal against his conviction under sections 38 and 39 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, which held that he was an LeT operative. While Dar has been cleared of all charges relating to the blasts, the hearing in the money laundering case is still underway. The court will hear the matter next on March 10.