Kerala HC rips into NIA’s sloppy probe into 2006 Kozhikode twin blast case, acquits accused
Picking many holes in the National Investigating Agency’s investigation into 2006 Kozhikode twin blast case, Kerala High Court acquitted the prime accused Thadiyantevida Nazeer and Shafas in the case
Picking many holes in the National Investigating Agency’s investigation into the 2006 Kozhikode twin blast case, the Kerala High Court acquitted the prime accused Thadiyantevida Nazeer and Shafas in the case. The HC also observed that NIA had failed to produce credible evidence.
A Division Bench of Justice K Vinod Chandran and Justice Ziyad Rahman observed that, “In their anxiety to wrap up the case; we say anxiety since we do not think the Officers of the NIA would be ignorant of the law on the subject, they even recorded the confessions made by the accused, clearly inadmissible under Section 25 & 26 of the Evidence Act.” The judges stated that had it not been for the agency's hurry to wind up the investigation, there may have been more compelling evidence to find the accused guilty.
Nazeer and the other accused were charged with conspiring, planning and executing the bomb blasts in Kozhikode KSRTC and mofussil bus stands on March 3, 2006. In this case, the accused allegedly informed the city collectorate and the media about the location of the bombs after planting them. Although it was initially investigated by the local police, the case was taken over by the NIA in 2009.
To NIA’s embarrassment, the court remarked, “The investigators did not make a concerted effort to ‘go out in the sun’ to collect independent evidence of whatever version the accused told them though we do not venture to speculate whether they employed ‘red pepper’ to elicit the disclosures.”
The judges also declined the appeal filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) challenging the trial court's order acquitting two other accused - Abdul Halim and Abubacker Yusuf - in the case.
The prosecution also failed to prove the conspiracy. The court said the accused were alleged to have conspired, planned, and executed the twin blasts, for reasons of bail having been denied to the accused in the second Marad incident, in which 136 of the 142 accused remained imprisoned, as under trials, for about four-and-a-half years. “The conspiracy as alleged by the prosecution has not been established,” said the court.
“(As) There were five others involved in planting the bombs, who later converged at a nearby mosque, why the approver, a casual acquaintance, was involved vexes us to no end,” observed the court. The involvement of the approver just to make a call makes his very role suspect and unbelievable. Nor is there anything brought out in the investigation as to him having any connection with fundamentalist organisations or a part in the conspiracy alleged by the prosecution, pointed out the court.
The prosecution mainly depended on a person, who was the seventh accused and later turned an approver, to prove its case and it became a boomerang on the agency. The fourth accused in the twin blast case is alleged to have made the call to the collectorate and it is not perceivable as to why the main witness (approver) was involved in making a call to Calicut Times, a media firm, especially when he did not have a strong bond with any of the accused.
“We cannot but find, based on the discrepant notes in the testimony of the main witness and the attendant circumstances of turning approver, he is not a reliable witness and his role in the crime is very suspect,” it stated. The conduct of the accused in having gone to the mosque by itself has no relevance since it does not lead to an inference of the blast, being a consequence of that act or that act being influenced by the crime, said the court.
After examining the law on approver's evidence, the Court maintained that though not absolutely necessary, it is always prudent to look for corroboration of the approver's testimony, before entering a conviction; if not on all material aspects of the case, at least enough to inspire the Court's confidence to accept that evidence.