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Rajasthan High Court acquits all accused in Jaipur bomb blasts case

The High Court of Rajasthan on Wednesday acquitted all four convicts in the 2008 serial Jaipur bomb blasts case and upheld the acquittal of the fifth accused, observing that the prosecution could not establish the chain of circumstances to prove the accused guilty.

The order was pronounced by the Division Bench of Justice Pankaj Bhandari and Justice Sameer Jain on a petition filed by the accused, challenging the capital punishment awarded to them by a trial court.

On May 13, 2008, a series of bomb blasts had rocked the Pink City, as bombs went off one after another at Manak Chawk Khanda, Chandpole Gate, Badi Chaupad, Chhoti Chaupad, Tripolia Gate, Johri Bazar and Sanganeri Gate in Jaipur. The explosions claimed 71 lives and left 185 injured. 

A total of eight FIRs were registered in the matter. A day later, TV channels had claimed to have received an email in which the Indian Mujahideen was said to have taken responsibility for the blasts.

One live bomb was recovered near Ramchandra Temple, which was later defused by a bomb disposal squad.

Noting that a fair probe was not conducted in the case, the High Court observed that it appeared that ‘nefarious means’ had been employed by the investigating agencies during the investigation. 

The Bench further noted that ‘material witnesses’ required to unfold the events were withheld and ‘apparent manipulations and fabrications’ have been done during the investigation.

It said in the interest of society, justice and morality, it was directing the Director General of Police, Rajasthan, to initiate appropriate enquiry/disciplinary proceedings against the erring officers of the investigating team.

Acquitting Mohammad Saif, Mohammad Saifurrehman, Mohammad Sarvar Azmi and Mohammad Salman, the High Court ordered their immediate release. 

In a separate but concurring opinion, Justice Jain observed that the life and liberty of convicts, who were young individuals, was at stake. 

He said a very careful, conscious and meticulous approach was necessarily required to be made, since the accused were awarded the death sentence. He further noted that the trial court erroneously relied upon inadmissible evidence, ignored material contradictions and also did not properly consider the legal provisions.

Justice Jain said the Investigation Agency had miserably failed in the discharge of their duties, noting that the investigation was not only flawed, but was also shoddy and the provisions of law as well as their own rules were overlooked. 

The High Court observed that the Investigating Agency lacked the required legal skills as they were not aware about the statutory prerequisites and mandatory requirements. It said the agency had approached this case in a callous manner, which was unbecoming of the members of uniformed posts. 

It said the approach of the Investigation Agency was plagued by insufficient legal knowledge, lack of proper training and insufficient expertise of investigation procedure ,especially on issues like cyber crimes and even basic issues like admissibility of evidence. The failure on part of the investigation agency had frustrated the case of the prosecution and the evidence so recorded was not fulfilling the chain of evidence, it added.

Justice Jain further said that this case was a classic example of institutional failure resulting in botched/flawed/shoddy investigation. 

(Case title: Saifurrehman Ansari & Ors vs State of Rajasthan)

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