The prosecution in the 1993 serial blasts case on Friday sought to invoke the charge of waging of war against the nation against the seven accused currently being tried. The CBI had dropped this charge – which attracts a maximum punishment of death and a minimum of life in jail – against 129 accused previously tried in the case.
In his concluding arguments on Friday, special public prosecutor Deepak Salvi said that even though the charge was not invoked earlier, the designated TADA – Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act – judge has special powers to convict the accused under it on the basis of available evidence.
Designated TADA judge G A Sanap, however, asked why the prosecution had not invoked the charged against the other 129 accused. Salvi replied that this may have been a mistake by the prosecution but that the court ought to have considered invoking the charge. He added that the court has the power to do so even now, during the trial’s conclusion.
Salvi’s argument relied heavily on the Supreme Court’s verdict when upholding the charge of waging war against the nation against Ajmal Kasab – the sole terrorist arrested for the 2008 attacks in Mumbai. Quoting from the verdict, Salvi said the Supreme Court had widened the definition of the charge to include cases in which people were attacked.
He argued, “Under the earlier interpretation, the charge was only invoked for cases in which government installations were attacked. But after the Kasab verdict, the charge is applicable to all terror attacks in which people died.”
“Several accused have admitted in their confessions that the conspiracy was hatched to teach the government of India a lesson for allegedly not acting after the Babri Masjid demolition. They planned to attack the municipal corporation building, Mantralaya and other sensitive places. The accused were trained in Pakistan and some have confessed that those absconding are in that country. This is sufficient to convict them of waging war against the nation,” Salvi said.