The Rajasthan High Court has acquitted six lifers while upholding the death sentence to one and the life term to another in the 23-year-old case of a bomb blast in a bus at Samleti in Dausa district, in which 14 people were killed.
The six lifers who were freed on Monday by a Jaipur bench of the high court include five Jammu and Kashmir natives Javed Khan, Latif Ahmed, Mohammad Ali Bhatt, Mirja Nissa Hussain and Abdul Ghani.
The sixth one, Rais Beg, who was acquitted, is from Agra in Uttar Pradesh.
A trial court at Bandikui in Dausa had awarded death penalty to one person, Abdul Hamid, and life terms to seven others in the 1996 bomb blast case.
The division bench of justices Sabina and Goverdhan Bardhar, however, upheld the death penalty awarded to Abdul Hamid, saying he was the key person behind the planting of the bomb in the bus going to Bikaner from Agra on May 22, 1996.
The bench also upheld the life term awarded to Pappu alias Salim, holding him to be responsible for supplying the explosives.
The court acquitted the six lifers ruling that the prosecution has failed to prove their links with the conspiracy of the blast, said defence counsel Shahid Hasan.
All eight were convicted by the Bandikui sessions court for various offences under Indian Penal Code, the Explosive Act and the Prevention of Damage to Public Property (PDPP).
The high court bench also upheld the acquittal of a ninth person, Farukh Ahmed Khan, by the Bandikui court in the case earlier in 2014.
The state government had challenged the acquitted of Khan, but the high court bench dismissed the appeal against him.
The blast had taken place in a state roadways bus, going to Bikaner from Agra on May 22, 1996. Fourteen persons were killed and 37 injured in the blast.
Hamid whose death penalty was upheld in the Samleti bomb blast case is also a key accused in the case related to planting of bombs in the SMS Stadium of Jaipur on January 26, 1996.
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