Hours after a local metropolitan sessions judge in Hyderabad acquitted him, Mohammed Pahelwan, the chief accused in the attempt to murder case of AIMIM MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi, walked out of the Cherlapally Central Jail on Thursday night.
Akbaruddin Owaisi was attacked on April 30, 2011, by assailants with knives, who later opened fire at him.
The court held Hasan Bin Omer Yafai, Abdullah Bin Younus, Awadh Bin Younus Yafai and Salem Bin Wahlan guilty. They have been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.
The prime accused, Mohammed Pahelwan, including 10 others, was acquitted.
Police said that Pahelwan, a former AIMIM party member turned property dealer, allegedly hatched the plan to attack Akbaruddin.
Pahelwan, who had spent six years in jail since 2011, was given a huge welcome when he was released, with several followers waiting outside the prison to receive him.
Heading straight to the media persons gathered, Pahelwan said, "We're not the kind that is scared of anyone or hides from anyone. We are not the kind who stand in masjids and make false promises. We are straightforward people and God is with us.â
Interestingly, he also made a reference to 2019, the year that Telangana will head for polls.
âWe are just waiting for 2019. We know what to do and how to do it,â he said, as his followers cheered.
Since early morning on Thursday, security was tight around the premises of the court, while there was also a heavy âbandobastâ in areas of Old City like Barkas, to avoid a clash between the supporters of AIMIM and Pahelwan.
Majlis Bachao Tehreek (MBT) leader Amjed Ullah Khan and his followers were also present in the court on Thursday. The MBT is a rival party of the AIMIM in Hyderabad's Old City area.
"There was injustice in this case from the very beginning. On behalf of the Yafai family, we are going to appeal against the conviction of the four persons," he said.
Questioning decisions taken by the then Hyderabad Police Commissioner AK Khan, he added, "Under the Congress rule, innocent people were jailed for six years. We also want an investigation into the police officers who were looking at this case at the time."
Even as lawyers plan to challenge the conviction of four of the accused, the Hyderabad police may challenge the acquittal of Pahelwan and the remaining accused.
âWe will first obtain the copy of the judgement, consult our legal advisors, and then take a decision on challenging the acquittal," Avinash Mohanty, deputy commissioner of police (DCP), CCS, told The News Minute.
The police officer also said that they are yet to receive the entire judgement, as of Friday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Hyderabad additional commissioner (crimes) of police Swati Lakra told ToI, âWe will go for an appeal...Once our legal team goes through it, we will file an appeal."
Akbaruddin Owaisi was in the Barkas area of his constituency in 2011, along with Malakpet AIMIM MLA Ahmed Bhalala during the attack, when many men, allegedly sent by Mohammed Pahelwan attacked him with knives, and opened fire as he ran towards his car.
At the time, police said that the legislators' security personnel also opened fire, killing four of the assailants, including one Irfan, who was said to be Mohammed Pahelwan's nephew.
A case was still registered against Irfan and he was later acquitted in the case.
The incident had triggered a massive shutdown in the Old City area, with police imposing Section 144 and stepping up security for days.
Police had also said that an ongoing property dispute was the motive behind the attack.
The Central Crime Station, which filed the charge sheet, had named 83 witnesses.
In the FIR, the accused were charged under Sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting with deadly weapons), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 307 (attempt to murder), 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and section 27(1) of Indian Arms Act.