ABDUL KARIM Tunda’s admission of illegal migrations from one country to another, including Pakistan and Bangladesh, and his meetings with LeT leaders like Hafiz Saeed and Zakir-ur- Rehman Lakhvi connect him with the activity of terrorism, the trial court which sentenced him to life imprisonment last week in the 1996 Sonipat blasts case has said in its verdict.
Additional Sessions Judge, Sonipat, Dr Sushil Kumar Garg said while pronouncing the verdict that the guilt of an accused can also be established by circumstantial evidence and added that in the blasts case, it is “almost impossible to find out a witness who can claim to have actually seen a bomb being planted somewhere by some person.” Tunda was convicted on October 9 under Sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 120 B (conspiracy) of the IPC and section 3 of the Explosives Act for the twin blasts and has been held to be the mastermind behind the blasts.
The trial court has said in its judgment that it also observed Tunda’s conduct, including his claim of being a Pakistani national, and “all these circumstances, taken cumulatively, form a chain so complete that there is no escape from the conclusion that the same are consistent only with the guilt of the present accused and totally inconsistent with his innocence.”
“Undoubtedly, in this case there is no direct evidence of the crime in plantation of the bombs. The prosecution case hinges on circumstantial evidence in this regard. It is an accepted proposition of law that even in cases where no direct evidence is available in the shape of eye-witnesses etc. a conviction can be based on circumstantial evidence alone,” the judgment reads.
During the trial, Tunda had told the court that he was in Lahore at the time of the blasts and that he went there using an illegal passport. “The accused herein has miserably failed to bring on record any facts or circumstances which would make the plea of his absence even probable, let alone, being proved beyond reasonable doubt,” the court said while rejecting his contention.
“The direct and circumstancial evidence against the accused showing presence of the accused over the spot in question, proclaimation of his name by someone at the place of occurrence to be the mastermind of the incident, and the unproved plea of alibi of the accused, lead this court to presume the accused to be a mastermind of the bomb blasts at Sonipat on 28.12.1996,” it said.
The court has also noted that acquittal of co-accused for the same crime does not automatically lead to Tunda’s acquittal as evidence in each trial is different. Though Tunda had prayed for leniency in the punishment, the court said it should impose punishment befitting the crime as his “dangerous mission on accomplishment” would have resulted in heavy casualties.