NIA court acquits all accused in Maulvi Showkat murder case

A special trial court here Friday acquitted all persons accused in the murder case of prominent religious cleric Maulvi Showkat Ahmad Shah who was killed in an explosion on 8 April 2011 in Srinagar.

After hearing prosecution, and defence council Muhammad Abdullah Pandit, the special NIA Court Srinagar presided over by Ashwani Kumar, judge, said that the prosecution has miserably failed to fully “establish the circumstances . . . leading to an inference/presumption of the commission of murder of Maulvi Showkat Ahmad Shah (deceased) by the accused persons. . .”

The court dismissed the “challan” of the prosecution and acquitted the accused persons of the charges levelled against them.

The court said that the prosecution has not rendered any explanation regarding non-examination of the Investigation Officer (IO).  “It is fatal to the case of the prosecution . . .  (which is) entirely based upon the circumstantial evidence. The prosecution has failed to prove the FIR as well as the site plan of the spot. As such, both are inadmissible in evidence and cannot be relied upon for sustaining the conviction of the accused persons,” it said.

The court added that it is a settled principal of criminal jurisprudence that no conviction can sustain on the basis of suspicion, howsoever grave it may be. “. . . hundred guilty persons may escape punishment but no innocent should be get convicted by the court,” it added.

In its detailed judgment, the court said that prosecution has failed to prove whether in fact, the murder of Maulvi Showkat Ahmad Shah was committed by the accused persons on the basis of the alleged conspiracy and whether the act of the accused persons was a terrorist act.

The court said in the present case, a terror has been struck in the people by using the IED in killing of the deceased but who has struck the terror and by whom the IED has been blasted “has not been established before the court by the prosecution.”

The court added that it has not been established before the court when the alleged conspiracy to kill was hatched.

Maulvi Showkat Ahmad Shah was killed in an IED explosion outside a mosque in Maisuma on 8 April 2011.

Police had registered a case vide FIR number 17 of 2011 and filed a charge sheet against eight persons before the special court in Srinagar on 14 July 2011. Among eight accused, charge sheet against two was produced in their absence after declaring them absconders.