The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued notice to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on appeals filed by four Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) operatives. They have challenged their sentence awarded by the trial court in November 2022.

The division bench consisting of Justices Sidharth Mridul and Talwant Singh issued notice to NIA and directed to file a reply within four weeks. The matter has been listed for further hearing on March 24.

The counsel for the appellants submitted that they had pleaded guilty before the trial court.

A Special NIA court in Delhi in November 2022 had awarded life imprisonment to the appellants for recruiting and training youth across the country for terror activities in India.
Special Judge Shailender Malik sentenced appellants Sajjad Ahmed Khan, Bilal Ahmed Mir, Muzaffar Ahmed Bhat and Mehraj-ud-din Chopan to life imprisonment after they pleaded guilty in the case.

The court had sentenced another convict Tanveer Ahmed Ganie to 5 years’ rigorous imprisonment under different sections.
The Special Judge while passing judgement had noted that all the convicts were in conspiracy with each other to wage war against India.

He had noted, “It came in evidence collected during the investigation that accused persons and other suspects joined JeM, a terrorist organisation which is Pakistan-based terrorist group active in the area of Kashmir, Pakistan Punjab and its chief is Maulana Masood Azhar.”

“JeM is a banned organization even in Pakistan because of its terrorist activities. Since its inception in 2000, the said organisation has been involved in many terrorist activities in different parts of the world. Pakistan nationals and JeM operatives formed by Maulana Masood Azhar hijacked Indian Airline Flight IC-814 in December 1999 demanding release of Maulana Masood Azhar,” noted the court.

The said organisation has also been involved in Pathankot attack on 02.01.2016 in which four Pakistani nationals including Mufti Abdul Rauf Asghar JeM operatives entered into criminal conspiracy to infiltrate into India and to commit terrorist acts; Nagrota attack on 29.11.2016; attack on Army Station at Sunjawan, Jammu on 10.02.2018; attach on CRPF convoy on National Highway at Lethpora (Pulwama) on 14.02.2019 where 40 CRPF personnel had been killed, are the different terrorist acts committed by JeM and its operatives in India.

During the investigation, it was revealed that Sajad Ahmad Khan, whose brothers were also involved in terrorist activities and were operatives of JeM, was also recruited and sent to Delhi for carrying out reconnaissance in different parts of Delhi, noted the court.

NIA court had noted that all the accused during the relevant time of 2018 to 2019 were under conspiracy with each other for trying to recruit local youth for arranging hideouts, providing logistic support and for reconnaissance of different places for the object of carrying out terrorist acts and were also members of proscribed/banned terrorist organisation JeM of Pakistan and were enticing/ motivating locals of Jammu & Kashmir to go into militancy and arranging funds etc. for carrying out terrorist acts and therefore are liable to be convicted for offences under section 120B IPC as well as 18 of UA(P) Act.

“The accused were also involved in enticing/ motivating locals of Jammu & Kashmir to go into militancy and arranging funds etc. for carrying out terrorist acts and therefore they all are liable to be convicted for offence u/s 120B IPC as well as u/s 18 of UA(P)Act,” the judge had said.

“From the statements of different witnesses and recovery/seizure of explosives from or at the instance of Muzaffar Ahmad Bhat and Mehraj Uddin Chopan, it has been duly established that hand grenades, detonators, etc. were received either from their possession or at their instance which duly covers the case of prosecution as against them for holding them guilty for offence under Explosives Substances Act, 1908. Therefore is held guilty u/s 4 of the said Act, whereas A-Il is held guilty u/s 4 and 5 of the Act,” said the court in its verdict. (ANI)