The Supreme Court on July 5 refused to entertain a plea of six persons, who have been acquitted by the apex court in the 2002 Akshardham terror attack case, seeking compensation for their ‘wrongful’ arrest.
A bench of comprising Justices Dipak Misra and R Banumathi said it would set a dangerous precedent if the acquitted persons are allowed to seek compensation for their ‘wrongful’ arrest.
Senior advocate KTS Tulsi, appearing for the acquitted persons, withdrew the plea after sensing the mood of the bench and said they may launch a case against Gujarat police for “malicious prosecution”.
Earlier, the Gujarat government had opposed the plea saying that it would have a “serious demoralising effect” on the investigating agencies.
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It had said that since the trial court as well as the Gujarat High Court had convicted them for their alleged roles in the terror attack that had claimed 32 lives, the issue of “curtailment” of their personal liberty, which they are claiming, cannot be accepted.
On May 16, 2014, the Supreme Court had acquitted the six persons, including the three condemned prisoners, in the case, saying, “The story of the prosecution crumbles down at every juncture.”
The state, in its counter affidavit, had said the probe agency had followed the law in chargesheeting these six persons, who were convicted by the designated POTA court, and their conviction was subsequently confirmed by the high court.
“When two courts having jurisdiction have appreciated the evidence collected against the petitioners and have recorded a judicial finding holding the petitioners to be guilty of the offences charged, the curtailment of the petitioners’ personal liberty cannot be said to be accepted in accordance with law,” the affidavit had said.
It had said that such an eventuality would be “against public interest and interest of the nation”.
Besides the three who were facing the gallows, the apex court had also quashed life sentence of two others and a 10-year jail term of another person for the September 24, 2002 terrorist attack on Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar.
Adam Ajmeri, Shan Miya alias Chand Khan and Mufti Abdul Qayyum Mansuri were awarded death sentence in July 2006 by the special court set up to try the case under POTA.
While a youth from Dariapur in the city, Mohammed Salim Shaikh, was sentenced to life imprisonment, Abdulmiyan Qadri was given a 10-year term and Altaf Hussain sentenced to five years in jail.
Two militants, identified as Murtuza Hafiz Yasin and Ashraf Ali Mohammed Farooq, with alleged links with Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba, were killed by National Security Guard commandos during the attack on the temple.
The attackers, using automatic weapons and hand grenades, had killed 32 people, including 28 visitors. Three commandos, one of them from NSG and a constable of State Reserve Police, were also killed.