news Friday, May 01, 2015 - 05:30
Seventeen men picked up on charges of terror in 2008 were acquitted by a Hubballi court on Thursday, after police "miserably failed to prove their case".  Hindustan Times reported that the men were picked up from various parts of Karnataka and that the CID - which was investigating the case - had alleged that they were part of a Hubli-based sleeped cell with links to Pakistan that was conspiring to bomb IT companies and other sensitive installations. The Times of India reported that they were charged under sections for waging war against the country, sedition and manufacture and possession of huge amount of explosives. The case was heard for seven years and statements of 278 witnesses was recorded by the First Additional Sessions Court, Hubballi. The CID headed by then DIG and present Bengaluru ACP Alok Kumar, had chargesheeted all the 17 accused. In its report the agency had alleged that the "accused had links with SIMI and had possessed Jihadi literature".  Public prosecutor of the case, DA Bandekar, was quoted by TOI as saying,"After going through it(the judgement copy), I will file an appeal in the high court."  Ismail D Jalgar, one of the defence lawyers, told Hindustan Times that all the books and explosives recovered by the police were planted, that many of the witnesses were office-beareres of "certain anti-minority organizations". HT quoted another defence lawyer as saying that a "major conspiracy involving the police has been exposed" as none of the 278 witnesses could stand cross-examination. After the arrests, the then BJP government had claimed that it was a major break-through in anti-terror operations and had also led to much political turmoil, HT reported. Jalgar's office was set on fire by VHP and Bajrang Dal activists after he appeared for the arrested men. No arrests have been made in the case in seven years.

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