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Calcutta High Court commuted the death sentence of 4 Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) members

“He did not receive any training in use of arms and expressed his mistake in joining the terrorist organisation. Ahamed was forcibly inducted into the terrorist organisation and given arms training. These mitigating circumstances show the appellants are not prominent players in the organisation and there is little possibility of their reverting to the path of terrorism.”

Kolkata: On Monday, the Calcutta High Court sentenced four Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists to prison terms for other charges while acquitting four terrorists, comprising two Pakistanis, who had been given the death penalty for waging war against the nation. The Calcutta High Court commuted the death sentence of LeT members. All four of them were convicted of “conspiracy” to conduct war against the Government of India and given 10-year sentences that included hard labor.

The two Pakistani citizens, Md Younus and Md Abdullah, who have already completed their sentences, are to be returned to their nation after a division bench led by Justice Joymalya Bagchi cleared the four defendants of the charge under Section 121 of the IPC for waging war against the GOI.

Conviction Turned Down

“In view of the acquittal under section 121 of IPC, death sentence and a fine of Rs 50,000 each, imposed on the appellants on the such score are set aside”

In a 69-page decision, a division bench comprising Justice Joymalya Bagchi and Justice Ananya Bandyopadhyay rejected the verdict under Section 121 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which carries a death sentence, and Section 122 of the IPC, which carries a life sentence, for waging war against India.

But, the HC found them guilty of a number of additional offences, notably 121 A IPC (conspiring to wage war against India). The Pakistanis and Ahamed have already finished their prison sentences, having each spent a decade and a half behind bars, and now, the Calcutta High Court commuted the death sentence of LeT members.

They Were Foot Soldiers, Says HC

While giving the judgement on the case, HC said that the four guilty men were:

“not men who were in the higher echelons of the terrorist organisation. They are foot soldiers who were recruited through allurement or coercion for the activities of the organisation.”

According to the HC, Younus, a Pakistani native, was originally drawn to the organization’s charitable endeavours before being brainwashed and given training in the use of weapons. The HC stated, “He is presently more than 66 years old, and there is little possibility of his reverting to the path of terrorism”. The other Pakistani citizen, Abdullah, worked as a teacher and joined the organisation forcibly, according to the HC.

HC also stated that Nayeem had criminal history and charges, including one for engaging in terrorism. “But in those instances, he was not found guilty. However, there is no proof that the aforementioned appellant visited Saudi Arabia in 2005 and encountered a Pakistani citizen. There is no evidence in the public domain linking him to the Bombay or Mecca Masjid blast cases” HC stated. Nayeem, a citizen of Maharashtra, had previously eluded capture before being apprehended once more. And, in the High court, he had presented his argument as well.

The Testing Of Explosives Was Delayed

Going ahead, the HC further probed why the explosives weren’t tested sooner. CSFL reportedly identified the “brown sticky substance” that was seized in 2007 as nitroglycerine after testing the sample in 2008. The HC claimed that it was unclear where it had been maintained throughout and why the individual who had left it behind for testing had not been questioned.

The HC also determined that the Fifty anti-India leaflets in English or Urdu that were taken from the suspect were not unambiguously proven in court. Not just this, the HC questioned the trial court as well, which sentenced the four to execution but did not impose a separate punishment for fraud despite the discovery of false identification documents in their hands. And it was after all this that the Calcutta High Court commuted the death sentence of LeT members.

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