ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Terror and the Course of Law

The NIA must adhere to its avowed role of matching the international investigation standards.


The recent acquittal of the accused in the Samjhauta Express blast of 2007 near Panipat in Haryana that had killed 68 passengers, 44 of whom were Pakistani nationals, has led to reactions that are diametrically opposite. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has hailed the verdict as “historic.” Pakistan, on the other hand, has denounced it as a travesty of justice. However, what is notable and is a cause for concern is the effect on the credibility of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) that conducted the probe. This was reflected in the observations made by the NIA court. The judge of the special NIA court said that there were “gaping holes” in the evidence presented by the prosecution and that a “dastardly act of violence” is going unpunished due to the lack of admissible evidence. He put on record his “deep pain and anguish” while concluding the verdict.

Among the four accused who were acquitted is Naba Kumar Sarkar alias Swami Aseemanand who was acquitted in 2018 by a special NIA court in the Ajmer blast case of October 2007 and also by the Hyderabad court in the Mecca Masjid blast of May 2007 and that killed nine persons. Both these cases were probed by the NIA and herein, too, the acquittal came due to the prosecution failing to prove any allegation against the accused. In the latter case, the Hyderabad police had at first arrested Muslims who were later released, but not before they were allegedly tortured in custody. The 2006 Malegaon bomb blast case in Maharashtra followed a similar trajectory, though the investigative body was not the NIA.

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Updated On : 24th Jan, 2021
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