Two Muslim men from the Indian state of Kerala have been acquitted by the High Court after judges found no credible evidence against them in a 2006 twin blast case.
The Special Court for National Investigation Agency (NIA), India’s counter-terrorist task force, had sentenced the pair – Thadiyantavida Nazeer and S Shafaz – to double life imprisonment in 2012 and both were serving their sentences. They were arrested in 2009.
Justice K. Vinod Chandran and Justice Ziyad Rahman of the Kerala High Court ruled: “There is no reliable evidence on the preparation or commission of the crime that would incriminate the accused beyond a reasonable doubt. The approvers’ evidence fails miserably in the twin tests – that of inherent reliability and credibility as also on the aspect of corroboration, the latter of which we find to be absent even in a single material particular.”
The court also found that if the counter terror agency had not rushed the investigation, there may have been more compelling evidence to find the accused guilty.
The twin blasts took place on March 3, 2006, in Kozhikode at a bus stand in northern Kerala. The case was initially investigated by the Kerala police but it was later handed over to the NIA in 2009.
The meticulously planned explosions occurred at the two bus stations within 10 minutes of each other. Timer devices had been used for exploding the bombs. Two persons, including a policeman, sustained minor injures in the blast.
The Kerala Court also said: “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.”