NEW DELHI (TIP): There are at least 16 cases in which the Delhi police special cell had brought terror charges against alleged suspects but all of them were acquitted by the courts, as the police was not able to substantiate allegations with hard evidence, according to a report released by Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association (JTSA) on September 18.

The report, “Framed, Damned, Acquitted: Dossiers of a Very Special Cell”, released on the fourth anniversary of Batla house encounter, raises questions over the record of elite anti-terror cell of the Delhi police.

The report details 16 cases, in which most of those arrested were accused of being operatives and agents of terrorist organizations. But they were acquitted later of all charges by the courts.

In some of these cases, the courts even held the police officers responsible for fabricating evidence to frame the accused, the report said.

“In all of these 16 cases, the persons were charged with serious crimes like waging war against the state and bomb blast. And the police demanded punishment like death and life imprisonment for the accused. But a large numbers of these accused were acquitted and it is not because of lack of evidence,” Manisha Sethi of JTSA said.

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Case studies

‘Govt must return my 14 years’ Maqbool Shah
Accused: Lajpat Nagar blast in 1996

Shah spent 14 years in jail, pushed to the brink, witnessed the death of his father and elder sister, before being acquitted of the terror charges brought against him.

“After the death of my father, my elder sister used to come to see me in jail. She also died later. The thought of committing suicide crossed my mind once but then I stood firm and decided that I will not give up till proven innocent,” Shah said.

“My question to government is who will return those 14 and half years to me. If you have so many laws to keep a suspect in jail, there should also be a law, which could bring back the dead relatives of that suspect when he is acquitted. I want my father to know that I am innocent,” Shah said. A resident of Jammu and Kashmir, Shad had come to Delhi in 1996 with his elder brother. “We were in the handicraft business but suddenly one day, several men in civil clothes picked me from my Lajpat Nagar house. After keeping me in custody for 15-20 days, they produced me in a court. Till that time I was not told for what offence I was arrested,” he said.

Shah’s father had to sell his ancestral land to pay for lawyer’s fees. Shah walked free on April 8, 2010, but is yet to find a job.

‘I wasn’t arrested but kidnapped’
Mohammad Amir
Accused: Various cases under the Explosives Act

Thirty-year-old Amir dreamt of becoming a pilot, till the day some people picked him up and pushed him into a waiting van.

“I thought they were kidnappers and I even asked them why they have kidnapped me. I still don’t call it an arrest, it was a kidnapping. I cannot explain the way cops tortured me,” Amir, a resident of Delhi’s Azad market said. Amir was picked up on February 20, 1998. Out of the 17 cases, Amir was acquitted in 12 cases before 2001. “My father died three years after I was arrested and my mother, who had never come out of the house in her life, went from one court to another to pursue my case,” he said.

Amir’s mother suffered a paralysis in the meanwhile and now she is not able to speak properly. “All I want now is that the government should accept its mistake and compensate me. I want my self respect back. There should be provision for rehabilitation of those who are acquitted in such cases,” he said.

Amir is scheduled to get married next month and through all those hardships in jail, he has been able to keep the patriot in him alive. “I am proud of my father and grandfather, who chose to stay in India despite the fact that they had the option to move to Pakistan,” he said.