A special terror case handling court (TADA Court) in Jammu on Monday farmed charges against the chief of the banned Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Yasin Malik and six others in a 30-year-old case of gunning down of Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel on the outskirts of Srinagar. The Additional Sessions TADA judge III ordered to frame charges against Malik and six others in the case, after hearing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as well as counsel of the accused persons. All the seven terrorists of banned JKLF (Jammu Kashmir Liberation Force) are charge-sheeted for murder, attempt to murder and sections from now-defunct Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act.
All the seven accused were produced before the court from jails through video-conferencing. Malik is currently in Delhi, Tihar jail facing charges in connection with a terror funding case registered by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). The judge had ordered on Saturday that charges could be framed against Malik, Ali Mohammed Mir, Manzoor Ahmed Sofi alias Mustafa, Javed Ahmed Mir alias ‘Nalka’, Showkat Ahmed Bakshi, Javed Ahmed Zargar and Nanaji.
The decks for the trial of Malik and others in the case were cleared last April when the Jammu and Kashmir high court struck down a 2008 order that had transferred their hearing to Srinagar. The CBI’s counsel Monika Kohli had argued before the high court that the agency had opposed the transfer of cases to Srinagar which was rejected. She also informed the court that petitions challenging the order of TADA court were filed with the high court but the same could not be heard so far.
Highlighting the CBI objections, Kohli also informed the high court that the TADA court in Srinagar had been abolished and the designated court in Jammu was given jurisdiction throughout the state with headquarters in Jammu in May 1990. In a 27-page judgment, Justice Sanjay Kumar Gupta had vacated an order by a single bench of the high court which had stayed the trial against Malik in 1995, besides observing that the October 25, 2008 order of special Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act court of Jammu allowing Malik’s petition for shifting trial to Srinagar was not correct.
“…From bare perusal of contents of petitions and relief sought therein, one can definitely come to the conclusion that petitioners (Malik) have sought transfer of their cases from designated court Jammu to additional court at Srinagar, which is not permissible under law,” Justice Gupta said in his order.
The framing of charges was in connection with the case related to the killing of Indian Air Force officers on January 25, 1990, on the outskirts of Srinagar city. The charge sheet was filed by the CBI the same year in August. According to the CBI, IAF personnel were fired upon by terrorists in which 40 of them, including a woman, received serious injuries and four IAF personnel were killed on the spot. On completion of the investigation, a charge sheet was filed on August 31, 1990, against Malik and six others before the designated TADA Court at Jammu.