A co-accused in the Indian Airlines flight IC-814 hijacking case on Thursday pleaded 'not guilty' and alleged that the entire operation and the subsequent release of three terrorists was stage-managed by the Indian Government.
Dalip Kumar Bhujel made the plea and the allegation in the anti-hijacking court of Special Designated Judge Inderjit Singh Walia during the resumed hearing of the case in Patiala.
Besides pleading innocence, Bhujel also reiterated the allegations levelled by Yusuf Nepali, another accused, that the hijacking had been planned by the Indian Government.
In the six-page defence plea moved by Bhujel through his counsel HV Rai, he said the Indian Government wanted to get rid of the leaders of the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, who had been let off for the release of the hostages. He said the Government had decided that in case the three terrorists were let off, they could be either killed in an encounter or by their own terrorist activities.
He said by doing so the Government not only wanted to throw out the terrorists, but also wanted to keep its image clean among the international community. He said all the three accused, including Yusuf Nepali and Abdul Latif, had been falsely implicated in the case.
Bhujel in his plea said so far the CBI had failed to complete the investigations, and even the hijacking story presented by the agency would not stand the scrutiny of law.
Bhujel also contended that it was an unfair trial as all proceedings were being conducted either in English or in Punjabi, and both the languages were beyond his comprehension.
He said the prosecution had charged him with supplying three grenades and pistols to the hijackers, but its witness Capt Devi Saran (pilot of hijacked plane) went on record stating that five hijackers were holding five pistols and five grenades and besides 100 grenades were found lying in the cockpit of the aircraft. He said the prosecution had failed to explain from where these grenades were procured by the hijackers.
Bhujel said the Government wanted to implicate someone and he became an easy target.