Wednesday, Jul 16, 2003
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By Our Special Correspondent
The Centre had appealed against her acquittal and sought enhancement of the five-year sentence awarded to her to the maximum 10 years.
Her counsel, Nitya Ramakrishnan, told the court that even if taken at face value, the 13 circumstances listed by the prosecution against Afsan Guru did not prove the charge of conspiracy. At most they suggested knowledge of a conspiracy. This was insufficient to prove the charge of conspiracy which required `agreement' and not `mere knowledge'. At least five of the 13 circumstances listed by the prosecution had not been put to her client during the trial, Ms. Ramakrishnan said. While this lapse may not vitiate the trial, "judgments were uniform in their view that such circumstances could not be relied upon", she said.
Counsel said several circumstances listed against her client which relied on the confessional statements of her husband, Shaukat Hussain Guru, and the main accused, Mohammed Afzal, were not admissible. Both, in their confessional statements to the police, are alleged to have said that Afsan Guru was present at meetings where the attack was planned. She said that for an offence under Section 123 IPC to be proved on the basis of the confessional statements of a co-accused, both the accused had to be jointly tried for the same offence. While Ms. Guru was tried for an offence under Section 123 neither her husband nor Mohammed Afzal was tried for the same offence. The hearing will continue tomorrow.
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