Hearing in Abu Jundal’s case through video conferencing: Court

NEW DELHI, Aug 6: The stalled proceedings in a case against suspected top Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) terrorist Abu Jundal, an alleged mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, would be conducted through video conferencing, a Delhi court has said after the NIA apprehended threat to his life.
Allowing the plea of National Investigating Agency (NIA), the court said its order be sent to superintendent of Mumbai’s Arthur Road Jail, where Jundal alias Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari is currently lodged, for making necessary arrangements for his video conferencing on September 24, the next date of hearing.
The court referred to the Bombay High Court’s order which had dismissed Jundal’s plea against the resolution passed by Maharashtra Government which stated that appearance of accused before other courts would not be possible due to apprehension of assassination bid on his life by rival groups.
“After applying the findings/observations of the High Court, I am of the considered view that the application of NIA deserves to be allowed. I, therefore, allow the application of NIA under section 273 of the CrPC for commencing the trial through video conferencing,” District Judge Amar Nath said.
“For that purpose, NIA shall take necessary steps. Put up on September 24. Copy of this order be sent to superintendent of Arthur Road Prison, Mumbai for making arrangement for video conferencing of accused Abu Jundal on September 24,” the court said.
The proceedings in the case have been stalled since May, 2013 as Jundal was not produced before the court here despite issuance of repeated production warrants.
NIA had chargesheeted Jundal here for allegedly conspiring to carry out terror activities in India, including the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and Aurangabad arms haul case.
In its plea, NIA had said that Jundal cannot be produced here as Maharashtra Government, in its May 2013 resolution, apprehends that he could be assassinated or kidnapped by rivals during his transit from jail to court.
NIA’s plea was opposed by Jundal’s counsel advocate M S Khan who had said that if trial was conducted through video conferencing, his defence would be adversely affected.
In its order, the court referred to the High Court’s order which had said that trial court was entitled to utilise video linkage facility or any other available technology as and when required for conducting the proceedings.
NIA, in its plea, had requested that the proceedings in the case lodged here was required to be expedited and the trial should be commenced through video conferencing.
The agency had referred to Maharashtra Government’s resolution saying it should “exclude personal appearance of the accused Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari….After taking into consideration request of Commissioner of Police, Mumbai to exclude the above-mentioned accused person from personal appearance before court in various cases registered against him due to possibility of assassination bid on the life of accused by rival group or a bid to kidnap.”
The court here is scheduled to hear arguments on framing of charges in the case in which NIA has chargesheeted Jundal for offences punishable under the IPC and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for allegedly attempting to recruit men through the internet for the banned LeT and conspiring to carry out terror activities in India.
Jundal is alleged to be one of the masterminds of 26/11 Mumbai terror attack in which the lone convict Ajmal Amir Kasab was hanged. Jundal was alleged to be one of the persons directing the terrorists during the attacks from a so-called ‘control room’ in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. (PTI)


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